Stop Congressional Attacks on National Monuments and Protect America’s Parks Today
The Antiquities Act is a century-old law created by Congress that allows presidents to quickly protect places with unusual natural, historic, and cultural significance. Congress is trying to end or diminish the president’s ability to create national monuments on land and in the ocean to protect treasured places.
The New Year has just begun and some members of Congress already have the president’s ability to create national monuments on land and in the ocean in their gun sight. There are currently over a dozen bills and amendments that would effectively invalidate the Antiquities Act, a century-old law created by Congress that allows presidents to quickly protect treasured American lands and waters as national monuments. Almost every president –Republican and Democrat-- has used this law to protect some of America’s most iconic places, from the Statue of Liberty to the Grand Canyon. Half of our beloved national parks started as national monuments. To preserve healthy oceans, Republican President GW Bush used the law to create the world’s largest strongly protected marine reserve (at the time) in 2006.
Urge House and Senate leadership to oppose these attacks on a conservation law that has helped protect America’s most special places! Help us defend the Antiquities Act!
The undersigned people oppose any bill or amendments that prevent the establishment of new parks and terrestrial or marine monuments, especially during the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary. We urge you to prevent these bills or amendments from coming to the floor of the Senate or House and advise your colleagues to oppose them if they do. A dozen or so bills that have already been introduced and threaten our great nation’s natural heritage legacy, include S.A. 3023, S.A. 3126, S. 228, S. 232, S. 437, S. 1416, S. 2004, H.R. 330, H.R. 488, H.R. 900, H.R. 2258, H.R. 3389, H.R. 3946, H.R. 4132 and others. These bills jeopardize protecting our nation’s natural, cultural and historic treasures by weakening the Antiquities Act.
The Antiquities Act was enacted by Congress over a century ago to allow presidents to protect public lands and waters that are vital to our legacy as national monuments. Nearly every president since Theodore Roosevelt has used this power to protect places like the Papahanaumokuakea marine monument, the Grand Canyon and Statue of Liberty.
Nearly half of our national parks started as national monuments. Limiting the authority of the Antiquities Act, as these bills seek to do, would weaken a natural and historical heritage protection tool that has safeguarded some of our most special American places. It could set a bad precedent that facilitates dismantling of the Antiquities Act necessary for protecting essential ocean habitats, historic sites, culturally important resources and other national assets in the future.
While supporters of these bills may claim otherwise, presidents often provide broad opportunity for public input and require broad public support prior to a monument designation and then again during the monument management planning process. These bills primarily seek ways to make it more difficult to protect America's iconic natural heritage, not protect local input or support as they so claim. Attempts to restrict, repeal or defund the Antiquities Act are simply an effort to roll back executive authority and prevent new parks and monuments from being designated.
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