The House Committee on Natural Resources will markup a bill to make major reforms to the Antiquities Act Wednesday.
GOP Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah, who chairs the committee, announced his bill and the scheduled markup session in a statement Monday.
“The 1906 Antiquities Act was originally intended as an executive tool to protect historical and archeological artifacts and structures under threat,” Bishop said in a statement. “Regrettably, this worthy goal has been manipulated for ulterior political purposes.”
The White House is currently drafting a final report on the designations of 22 national monuments reviewed by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. President Donald Trump ordered Zinke’s review in April. The interior secretary gave the White House his recommendations on rolling back some of the national monuments in late August.
Trump’s national monument review concerned only designations made under the Antiquities Act that covered 100,000 acres or more.
“Today the Act is too often used as an excuse for presidents to unilaterally lock up vast tracts of public land without any mechanism for people to provide input or voice concerns,” Bishop said. “This legislation … modernizes the law to restore its intent, allowing for the protection of actual antiquities without disenfranchisement of local voices and perspectives.”
Bishop’s bill would create increasingly tougher standards for designating national monuments the larger they are, as well as protect the president’s ability to shrink national monuments under law.
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