Extreme politicians are trying to erase America’s national parks and monuments

Jun 11, 2024

A new report from the Center for American Progress identifies the members of Congress working to dismantle protections for America’s most beloved public lands.

The congressional antiparks caucus is a group of 28 extreme members of Congress who have introduced more than one and/or co-sponsored three or more antiparks bills and/or signed onto a legal amicus brief that attempts to undermine presidential authority to protect public lands via the Antiquities Act.

The antiparks agenda includes bills that seek to overturn public land conservation actions or rules seize and sell public lands; weaken, dismantle, or undermine the Antiquities Act; expand drilling or mining on protected public lands; limit habitat conservation; exclude the public from engaging in decision-making on land management; attack protections of specific public lands; weaken Tribal sovereignty on lands and waters; and more.

The antiparks agenda has many parallels to the Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025 plan, a far-right policy wish list for a future administration. This risk is neither understated nor theoretical. It is being carried out by lawmakers right now.

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Quote of the day

I believe the national monument provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to proactively manage this landscape. A criticism I hear about the possible national monument in Mesa and Montrose counties is that it would limit access. I’d like to offer a less binary framing that a monument would not limit access, but rather help plan for and improve access for the future.”

Rica Fulton, Dolores River Boating Advocates advocacy and stewardship director

Picture This

hiker looks at dark, craggy rock formation in distance

@mypubliclands

Happy 24th anniversary to Arizona’s Ironwood Forest National Monument! 🎊

This monument, encompassing 129,000 acres, takes its name from one of the longest-living trees in the Arizona desert and hosts a significant system of cultural and historical sites covering a 5,000-year period.

 

Feature image: Bears Ears buttes inside Bears Ears National Monument; Source: Bruce Rinehart, Wikimedia Commons