Senator hatch said, “Public lands in Utah and other states belong to the American people, not to government bureaucrats and environmental elitists. This bill would prevent this or any other presidential administration from misusing the 1906 Antiquities Act to designate national monuments without congressional approval and public input. If this bill had been law in 1996, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument would look vastly different than it does today.”
As introduced recently by Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), the National Monument Designation and Accountability Act (S. 407) would require congressional approval within two years of a Presidential Executive Order seeking a national monument designation. If two years elapse without the approval, the land would return to its original status. It would further require any restrictions placed on the usage of public lands be specifically tailored and essential to the management and care of objects protected by a monument designation.
The legislation is being introduced to block the Obama administration’s tentative plans – leaked in an Interior Department memo a year ago – to create new or expand national monuments in Utah, Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Nevada and Washington. All told, the Administration has explored using the Antiquities Act to designate 10 million acres in Western states as national monuments without congressional approval. Other co-sponsors of the bill include: Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), John Ensign (R-Nev.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), James Risch (R-Idaho) and Pat Roberts (R-Kansas).
The following organizations support the National Monument Designation Transparency and Accountability Act: American Sheep Industry Association, Arizona Wool Growers Association, California Forestry Association, California Wool Growers Association, Colorado Wool Growers Association, Idaho Wool Growers Association, Independent Oil Producers Association, Montana Wool Growers Association, National Association of Counties, Public Lands Council, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Nevada Cattlemen’s Association, Nevada Wool Growers Association, New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, New Mexico Federal Lands Council, New Mexico Wool Growers, Inc., Northern New Mexico Stockmen’s Association, Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, Oregon Sheep Growers Association, South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, Texas Sheep & Goat Raisers Association, Utah Cattlemen’s Association, Utah Wool Growers Association, Washington State Sheep Producers, and Wyoming Wool Growers Association.