Written by Denise Ryan, Director of Public Lands Policy, Government Relations and Policy
View from the Effigy Mounds National Monument, north of Marquette, Iowa, along the Mississippi River
This past week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on H.R. 1459, the “Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation of National Monument Act.” The bill’s title is misleading: What the legislation actually proposes is to curtail the President’s ability to act swiftly to establish or expand the designation of national monuments on federally owned or controlled property in order to protect sites, objects, and landscapes of historic, cultural, or scientific interest.
President Obama has used this law 10 times to great effect since 2011 to protect a wide array of places that have played a vital role in our country’s history -- places such as Fort Monroe in Virginia, Chimney Rock in Colorado, César E. Chávez in California, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad in Maryland, and El Rio Grande Del Norte in New Mexico.
Unfortunately, the House voted 222-201 to pass this problematic piece of legislation, mostly along party lines with 10 Republicans crossing over to oppose the bill and three Democrats voting to support the bill. Now that the House has passed it, the bill moves over to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee; if favorably reported out of this committee, it will land before the full Senate for consideration.
Be assured that we at the National Trust and our allies will continue to educate the members of the Senate on the flaws of H.R. 1459 in order to defeat this bill and preserve the Act’s power. Let’s start with the top five reasons we support the Antiquities Act.... Read More →
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The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.