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Obama’s Use of Antiquities Act Would Cut Coloradans out of the Legislative Process

December 3, 2014
Press Release
WASHINGTON— The Obama Administration announced this week that Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Deputy Director Steve Ellis will visit the Browns Canyon area of Colorado on Saturday, December 06, 2014. House Natural Resources Committee Chairman-elect Rob Bishop (UT-01) raised concerns that this visit may signal the Administration's intention to use the controversial Antiquities Act to create a new national monument, usurping the power of the legislative process, and subsequently depriving Coloradans of the opportunity to have their voices heard.

"The President's use of the Antiquities Act would unjustly deprive the communities surrounding Browns Canyon of the opportunity to debate the proposed monument through the open legislative process. I hope Chief Tidwell and Deputy Director Ellis take this into consideration during their visit," said Bishop.

Nearly 22,000 acres located within this region are the subject of legislation introduced by Colorado Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet that would establish a new national monument. Despite a Democrat majority in the Senate, the two Democrat Senators have been unsuccessful in their efforts to gain enough support to move the bill. As a result, they have appealed to President Obama to designate the new national monument by executive fiat using the Antiquities Act.

"The inability of two Democrat Senators to garner support for this initiative despite a Democrat majority is hardly justification for robbing Coloradans of the opportunity to have their voices heard. They have referred to the term ‘gridlock' when explaining why their bill has languished but evidence suggests there are other issues at fault. Lack of support is certainly one of them," Bishop added.

Congressman Rob Bishop (UT-01) introduced legislation in the 113th Congress that would require 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 would ensure that the American people have an opportunity to participate in the national monument designation process.