Everything you need to know about the Antiquities Act
Sep 1, 2022
Issue: 30x30, Land Protection
Subject: National Monuments, New Mexico
Over the last week, America’s national monuments and the Antiquities Act have been in the news thanks to elected officials in Colorado asking President Biden to invoke the Antiquities Act and other executive powers to protect lands that are part of the CORE Act, which is stalled in Congress despite near-universal support in the state. At the same time, Utah’s attorney general filed a lawsuit challenging President Biden’s use of the Antiquities Act to confirm the boundaries of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, which President Trump had attempted to shrink in an action that was also challenged and not resolved before he left office.
The Center for Western Priorities put together a helpful primer on what the Antiquities Act is, why and when it was passed, how it’s held up to legal challenges in the past, and how President Joe Biden can use it to protect important landscapes like Avi Kwa Ame, Castner Range, Caja del Rio, as well as areas identified for protection in the CORE Act.
From Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico boasts spectacular natural beauty and stunning archeological sites. Past presidents have used the Antiquities Act to protect many of these places, while Congress has acted to protect others. Yet an important New Mexican landscape remains unprotected. It’s called Caja del Rio (Spanish for “Box of the River”), and it spans over 106,000 acres and contains thousands of ancient petroglyphs.
Diverse communities of New Mexicans are seeking protection for Caja del Rio, which is threatened by mining, poaching, vandalism, desecration, illegal dumping, and habitat fragmentation. It’s time to implement both legislative and administrative protections—whether by designating Caja del Rio as a national conservation area, traditional cultural property, or a national monument.
September is National Wilderness Month!
Today is the first day of National Wilderness Month. Get out and enjoy your public lands this Labor Day weekend—bonus points for recreating (responsibly!) in wilderness areas. We’ll be back in your inbox on Tuesday.
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Over the last week, America’s national monuments and the Antiquities Act have been in the news thanks to elected officials in Colorado asking President Biden to invoke the Antiquities Act and other executive powers to protect lands that are part of the CORE Act, which is stalled in Congress despite near-universal support in the state. […]
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