House GOP moves to revamp law on national monuments


WASHINGTON (AP) - House Republicans are moving to restrict the president's ability to protect millions of acres of federal land considered historic, geographically significant or culturally important.

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, said presidents of both parties have misused the 1906 Antiquities Act to create oversized monuments that hinder energy development, grazing and other uses. Bishop, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, introduced a bill that would prevent presidents from designating monuments larger than 85,000 acres and grant veto power to states and local officials for monuments larger than 10,000 acres.

The GOP-controlled resources panel approved the bill Wednesday, 23-17, sending it to the House floor.

"No longer would we have to blindly trust any president to do the right thing," Bishop said, adding that his bill "modernizes the law to restore its intent, allowing for the protection of actual antiquities without disenfranchisement of local voices and perspectives."

The bill comes as Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended that four large national monuments in the West be reduced in size, potentially opening hundreds of thousands of acres to mining and logging.

Zinke's recommendation has prompted an outcry from environmental groups, who promised to take the Trump administration to court to block the moves.

Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, senior Democrat on the resources panel, called Bishop's bill a tacit admission by the GOP that President Donald Trump does not have legal authority to reduce or abolish existing national monuments.

Grijalva charged that the bill was "thrown together at the last minute with only one special interest group in mind: the oil and gas industry."

The interior secretary's plan would scale back two huge Utah monuments - Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante - along with Nevada's Gold Butte and Oregon's Cascade-Siskiyou. The monuments encompass more than 3.6 million acres - an area larger than Connecticut - and were created by Democratic administrations under the Antiquities Act.

Zinke's plan also would allow logging at a newly designated monument in Maine and urges more grazing, hunting and fishing at two sites in New Mexico. It also calls for a new assessment of border-safety risks at a monument in southern New Mexico.

Environmental groups and the outdoor recreation industry condemned the GOP bill.

Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario called the bill "dangerous" and said Bishop "should recognize the committee he leads is meant to protect our natural resources, not destroy them."


More Related News

White House says Trump isn
White House says Trump isn't considering firing Mueller

President Donald Trump is not considering firing the special counsel investigating Russian election interference, a top White House lawyer said, after a cascade of Trump tweets revived chatter that the ...

Trump Attacks McCabe, Comey And Mueller Probe In Sunday Tweet Barrage
Trump Attacks McCabe, Comey And Mueller Probe In Sunday Tweet Barrage

President Donald Trump once again attempted to dismantle the credibility of

Trump hails FBI official
Trump hails FBI official's firing, but critics call it 'dangerous'

Donald Trump has hailed the firing of a veteran FBI agent as a "great day for democracy," a move his attorney said he hoped would bring an end to a probe into alleged collusion between the president's campaign and Russia. McCabe, who was the FBI's deputy under former director James Comey, is a potentially key witness in the Russia probe.

Ex-CIA Boss John Brennan Tears Into Donald Trump Over Andrew McCabe Firing
Ex-CIA Boss John Brennan Tears Into Donald Trump Over Andrew McCabe Firing

Former CIA chief John Brennan did not mince his words when taking aim at

Trump lauds firing of ex-top FBI official as
Trump lauds firing of ex-top FBI official as 'great day'

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he has fired Andrew McCabe, a former FBI deputy director who was a regular target of President Donald Trump's anger and criticism, just two days before McCabe's scheduled ...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Latin America

Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.