Antiquities Act Is ‘Robbing’ Rural Communities Of Their Land, Senator Says


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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter
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GOP Sen. Mike Lee of Utah said Wednesday that the Antiquities Act of 1906 represents the kind of collusion among special interests, bureaucrats and the executive that he was elected to fight.

“[The Antiquities Act] is an attack on our republican form of government that weakens rural communities by robbing them of agency and opportunity on the surrounding lands,” Lee said in a speech at a joint Heritage Foundation and Sutherland Institute event Wednesday on abuses of the Antiquities Act. “What is needed is wholesale reform of the Antiquities Act, to return its monumental power back to where it belongs: To the people who reside closest to the proposed monuments.”

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke sent his recommendations on adjusting national monument designations to the White House Aug. 24. A draft of Zinke’s recommendation leaked to The Washington Post said that 10 national monuments were recommended for rollbacks or changes.

Lee praised President Donald Trump for ordering the national monument review.

“I am heartened by steps that have been taken so far by the Trump administration,” Lee said.

“A final recommendation is being prepared as we speak,” he said regarding the White House’s review of Zinke’s recommendations. “Such a reduction would provide needed relief to Utahans. It would bring Bears Ears into line with the Antiquities Act by limiting it to the ‘smallest area compatible’ with preservation of its treasures.”

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