FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 10, 2017
DENVER—The U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources will consider a bill on Wednesday that would gut the Antiquities Act, the law responsible for protecting some of America’s most prized national parks and monuments. The bill—HR 3990, the “National Monument Creation and Protection Act”—is one of the most extreme attacks on America’s public lands in the 111 years since the Antiquities Act was signed into law.
The Center for Western Priorities issued the following statement from Executive Director Jennifer Rokala:
“Congressman Bishop will stop at nothing to gut America’s national parks and public lands. Under this bill, the Grand Canyon, Zion, Arches, Acadia, and countless other national treasures never would have been protected.
“This is not a serious piece of legislation; it’s a manifesto put forward by one of the most anti-conservation members of Congress in history.”
The Center for Western Priorities’ analysis of the bill finds more than 180 prior uses of the Antiquities Act that would have been impossible or extremely unlikely had Congressman Bishop’s bill been law at the time. This includes the initial protections of the Grand Canyon, Devils Tower, Denali, Death Valley, and four of Utah’s “Mighty Five” national parks, which pump more than $1 billion into the state’s economy every year.
Until now, Congressman Bishop had claimed presidents have the authority to eliminate or shrink national monuments. Section 2(j) of Bishop’s bill seems to admit that isn’t true—it would amend the Antiquities Act to grant presidents the unilateral authority to shrink national monuments by 85,000 acres or less, and more than 85,000 acres with the permission of local and state governments.
The bill would also make it illegal for President Trump to protect Montana’s Badger-Two Medicine area, one of the new national monuments proposed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in his review of national monuments.