The ANTIQUITIES Act comes in response to President Trump’s announcement that he will eliminate 2 million acres of protections for Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments — the largest rollback of federally protected lands in American history. Trump took this action despite the fact that Americans across the country overwhelmingly voiced support for keeping the monuments intact. During the administration’s public comment process, over 99 percent of the 2.8 million comments received were in favor of maintaining existing protections for our national monuments.
The America’s Natural Treasures of Immeasurable Quality Unite, Inspire, and Together Improve the Economies of States (ANTIQUITIES) Act of 2018 reinforces Congress’ intent in the Antiquities Act of 1906: only Congress has the authority to modify a national monument designation.
S. 2354, the ANTIQUITIES Act of 2018, protects and enhances national monuments in three main provisions:
- It officially declares Congress’ support for the 51 national monuments established by presidents in both parties between January 1996 and April 2017 under their authority established by the Antiquities Act of 1906.
- It reinforces that existing law clearly states that presidential proclamations designating national monuments are valid and cannot be reduced or diminished, except by an act of Congress.
- It further enhances protections for the presidentially-designated national monuments by 1) requiring that they be surveyed, mapped and that management plans be completed in two years—in the same manner as congressionally designated national monuments—and 2) that they receive additional resources to ensure that they will continue to meet their full potential of providing unmatched economic, recreational, and cultural benefits to their states and to the nation.
A summary of the ANTIQUITIES Act of 2018 can be found here.
Cosponsors as of 8/14/2018: Udall, Durbin, Blumenthal, Wyden, Heinrich, Feinstein, Schatz, Harris, Cortez Masto, Duckworth, Gillibrand, Hirono, Merkley, Cardin, Booker, Van Hollen, Smith, and Bennet.
Terry A. Sloan
Director, Southwest Native Cultures
Featured image, Gila Cliff Dwellings, WikiMedia