Passed in 1906 and signed by Teddy Roosevelt himself, the Antiquities Act has created some of America's greatest monuments.
And Colorado Congressmen Doug Lamborn and Scott Tipton are coming after it.
The Antiquities Act gives U.S. Presidents the power to create national monuments from Federal lands to protect natural, culture, and scientific resources. It is responsible for the genesis of over 50% of the national parks in the U.S. and has been used over 100 times in its 111 years by presidents to create protected sites including:
Aztec Ruins, New Mexico // Bears Ears, Utah // Canyons of the Ancients, Colorado // Chimney Rock, Colorado // Devil's Tower, Wyoming // Dinosaur NationalMonument, Colorado // The Grand Canyon // Grand Staircase-Escalante, Utah // Mount St. Helens // Natural Bridges, Utah // Rainbow Bridge, Utah // Yucca House, Colorado // and more!
Why would anyone want to undo the Antiquities Act?
On Wednesday, the House Natural Resources Committee advanced legislation to undo the President's authority under the Act. Rep. Bishop's bill (with Colorado's Doug Lamborn as co-sponsor), H.R. 3990, would require full approval from counties, state legislators, governors, and abutting private landowners before a national monument greater than 85,000 acres may be declared. The creation of protected marine national monuments, as done by President Obama, is also significantly curtailed. While based on arguments for local control, Bishop's bill is part of the rising opposition to public lands and the environmental, cultural, and scientific protection they entail -- often to the chagrin of extractive industries in the West.
Bishop's bill, H.R. 3990, gives presidents the authority to shrink existing national monuments. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke already wants Trump to shrink four national monuments ― Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante in Utah, Gold Butte in Nevada and Cascade Siskiyou in California and Oregon ― and slash protections for these monuments and six others.
Says Randi Spivak of the Center for Biological Diversity: “There’s no public support for this kind of radical legislation. Bishop’s only motivation is greed. He’s offering a gift to the fossil fuel, mining and timber industries and expecting something in return.”
Do I have to call Congress again?
Until we can kick the bad guys out next year, yes!
Anti-public lands legislators are hoping the public isn't watching. Let them know we are.
Passed Wednesday by the House Natural Resources Committee, the bill is set to continue its journey to a full floor vote. Please let the following representatives know that you are watching.
Bonus mission: Call all three -- Tipton, Lamborn (co-sponsor), and Bishop (sponsor)!
[IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied]
Sample Script: My name is [name] and I live in [town]. As a resident of the West Slope and as a [what do you do outdoors?] I urge Representative Tipton to stop supporting H.R. 3990, the National Monument Creation and Protection Act. This bill is a direct assault on my lifestyle, traditions, our economy, and our public lands heritage. This is a bad bill and I ask Representative Tipton to stand against this bill with his constituents.
Our friends at Conservation Colorado have also created some useful talking points.
CALL REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT TIPTON
Grand Junction: 970-241-2499
CALL REPRESENTATIVE DOUG LAMBORN
Washington, DC: (202) 225-4422
Colorado Springs: (719) 520-0055
CALL REPRESENTATIVE ROB BISHOP
Washington, DC: 202-225-0453
Ogden, UT: 801-625-0107
Stay Strong America!