|06-11-2003, 08:45 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2001
Member # 2787
Location: Shingle Springs, CA
Simpson Reintroduces Monument Bill
This is a good thing. Please write your representatives and ask them to support this bill.
Congressman Simpson Reintroduces Monument Bill
Washington, D.C. - Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson reintroduced legislation today calling for more congressional and public input before a President declares a national monument.
The National Monument Fairness Act amends the Antiquities Act of 1906 to require the President to solicit public participation and comment, and to consult with the Governor and congressional delegation of the state at least 60 days prior to any national monument proclamation. Congress must also approve any monument designation or expansion that is larger than 50,000 acres within two years of creation. Should Congress fail to do so, the land reverts back to its prior designation. The new guidelines would only apply to monuments created after the bill becomes law.
“Today, our government demands public input and studies on virtually every environmental decision. National monument abuses in the past have shown us what happens when the public isn’t invited into the discussion. This legislation is about creating a process where national monument decisions can be arrived at openly, with public participation and state and local government consultation,” said Simpson. “Allowing the public and Congress a seat at the table strengthens, not weakens, the Antiquities Act. An open public process is the first step in sound policy decision-making.”
H.R. 2114 preserves the President’s ability to protect those special areas of historical or scientific interest that are less than 50,000 acres and deserving of monument designation, while providing Congress with the power to conduct appropriate oversight over declarations involving greater expanses of land.
“Congressman Simpson deserves a lot of credit for his hard work and leadership on this issue. Mike understands that we in the West have a very personal relationship with the land. Not only our recreation and quality of life but our livelihoods and those of our children depend on its wise use. No administration should be allowed to unilaterally make fundamental changes in how our public lands are managed. Public involvement is a cornerstone of our environmental protection laws, and it ought to be required when presidents invoke the Antiquities Act as well,” said Congressman C.L. “Butch” Otter, vice chairman of the House Western Caucus and a cosponsor of the legislation.
“The original intent of Congress was to allow the President to protect ‘historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest’ early in our nation’s history. Nearly 100 years later, the Antiquities Act was used to lock up large tracts of land without any public comment,” Simpson said. “Former President Clinton used the Antiquities Act 22 times to designate nearly 5.9 million acres of federal land as national monuments, without any public input or consultation with state and local officials. Even though we now have a new administration, the monument designation process is still flawed ”
The bill now goes to the House Resources Committee. Simpson introduced similar legislation in the 106th and 107th. In March 2002, the Resources Committee passed Simpson’s legislation, but the bill did not come before the full House for a vote.