Press Release Sep 13, 2011

Parks Group Opposes Efforts to Dismantle Antiquities Act

Proposed bills would diminish the President’s authority to protect public lands

“The National Parks Conservation Association opposes bills being heard today before the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands which would dismantle the Antiquities Act and ensure that no President in the future has the power to move rapidly to protect public lands from clear threats. Without the Antiquities Act, America might not have protected the Grand Canyon, Olympic, Acadia, the Statue of Liberty, Glacier Bay, Arches, Joshua Tree, and many other of our most cherished, iconic and visited national parks.”

“The Antiquities Act has a proud legacy of being a non-partisan conservation tool; eight Republican Presidents have designated monuments along with seven Democratic Presidents. Given the historic bi-partisan support and use of this law, maintaining the Antiquities Act should not be an issue that divides Republicans and Democrats.”

“In 1906, Congress wisely gave the President power to act quickly to protect existing federal lands to prevent their damage from activities such as mining, logging, and development, knowing that Congress could always repeal any monument designation if they chose to.”

“These bills would diminish the President’s authority to proclaim national monuments, and instead limit the power to make monument ‘recommendations’ by requiring congressional approval. Other bills would limit which federal lands would be eligible by exempting the Act from applying to certain states. These provisions defeat the purpose for which the Antiquities Act was created, and would open the door to the claims of developers, mining and energy companies, and others, leading to the degradation of unique federal lands.”

“America is losing at least one million acres a year to development–roughly equivalent to the size of Delaware. Thankfully, the Antiquities Act gives us a way to respond rapidly to development threats in sensitive areas and to more long-term conservation threats like vanishing wildlife corridors, and to protect special places for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.”


Click here for additional information on the Antiquities Act.