Washington, D.C. -U.S. Senators Mike Crapo, Jim Risch (both R-Idaho) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced legislation to reform the Antiquities Act of 1906 to ensure more transparent and accountable designations of national monuments.
Since its inception, the Antiquities Act has been a tool to protect cultural and natural resources on public lands. Over the years, however, there have been instances where the Act’s broad language has been used to unilaterally designate vast amounts of public land as national monuments without sufficient public input or Congressional oversight.
“The intent of the Antiquities Act has been broadly and deliberately misinterpreted by Democrat administrations in order to push a brazen environmental agenda,” said Crapo. “It is possible to protect our nation’s resources without unnecessarily burdening communities, land managers, and ranchers. This legislation ensures the prioritization of economic development and curtails the efforts of the executive branch to unilaterally establish national monuments without the appropriate congressional oversight.”
“Democrat administrations have long exploited national monument designations to ‘validate’ executive overreach that disregards the needs and input of local communities, limits economic growth, and restricts use of millions of public acres,” said Risch. “The Congressional Oversight of the Antiquities Act will ensure Congress has a say in federal monument designations in order to prevent such rampant abuses of authority. This legislation will ensure Idaho’s vast public lands continue to be managed for the benefit of all, regardless of the politics of the president.”
"The text of the Antiquities Act was clear – to protect significant archaeological and historic sites, but to do so with discretion and to ensure that the designated area was confined to the smallest size necessary for their protection," Lee said. "Regrettably, we have seen designations that far exceed this directive, impacting millions of acres and the lives of many in the West. My bill aspires to bring clarity and balance to this process, honoring both our historic legacy and the voices of affected communities."
This legislation has received endorsements by the American Farm Bureau Foundation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Public Lands Council, American Forest Resource Council and Federal Forest Resource Coalition.