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Congressman Rob Bishop

Representing the 1st District of Utah

Bishop Bill to Give Americans a Voice in Use of Antiquities Act Passes the House

March 26, 2014
Press Release
WASHINGTON— The U.S. House of Representatives today passed H.R. 1459, the Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation of National Monuments Act. This legislation, introduced by House Natural Resources Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01), requires the application of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) whenever the Antiquities Act is used by the President to establish a new national monument greater than 5,000 acres.  Application of NEPA ensures that the American people are no longer shut out from the national monument designation process.

"When new national monuments are established by a President, there is absolutely no requirement that the public be given an opportunity to share their concerns or opinions about the potential designation. We're finding that this can result in complications about the management and execution of the designation itself. The application of NEPA would bring such issues to light prior to the designation being made. National monuments created by Congress are required to go through a public process that includes transparency and public participation. It's common sense that the public should be involved regardless of whether or not Congress or the President initiates the designation. Today's bill is a win for the American people," said Congressman Bishop. 

Specifically, H.R. 1459:

·         Classifies National Monument declarations under the Antiquities Act as a major federal action, which would require the application of NEPA;

·         Allows for a temporary "emergency" designation (5,000 acres or less for a three-year period) by the president if there is an imminent threat to an American antiquity. After three years, the designation would only become permanent if the NEPA process is completed or it is approved by Congress;

·         Limits National Monument declarations to no more than one per state during any four-year presidential term in office, unless otherwise approved by Congress;

·         Prevents the inclusion of private property in monument declarations without the prior approval and written consent of property owners; and

·         Requires within one year of a declaration, a feasibility study and an estimated cost to taxpayers associated with managing the monument in perpetuity, including any loss of federal and state revenue.

Read more about the legislation here