Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, October 10, 2017

Contact: Randi Spivak, (310) 779-4894,

Rep. Bishop Introduces Bill to Overturn Antiquities Act, Threaten Public Lands

WASHINGTON— Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) introduced legislation today that would invalidate the Antiquities Act and put current and future national monuments at risk. Under his legislation national monuments would be limited to 85,000 acres and all but the smallest monuments would need state approval.

“This legislation is an appalling, unprecedented attack on our national monuments and public lands,” said Randi Spivak, public lands director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Zion and nearly every national monument created over the past hundred years wouldn’t have been possible under Bishop’s bill. Extreme doesn’t begin to describe how reprehensible his scheme is.”

H.R. 3990, misleadingly named the “National Monument Creation and Protection Act,” would require county and state approval for any national monument larger than 10,000 acres. Monuments could no longer be designated to protect natural or scientific wonders — only “objects of antiquity” such as relics, cultural artifacts and fossils. The bill would also require private landowners to agree to national monument designations if their land abutted proposed monument boundaries.

The bill gives presidents the authority to shrink existing national monuments, an acknowledgment that President Trump lacks authority to change national monument designations or boundaries as his administration has suggested. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wants Trump to shrink four national monuments ― Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante in Utah, Gold Butte in Nevada and Cascade Siskiyou in California and Oregon ― and slash protections for these monuments and six others.

“Bishop’s views are extreme, but at least he acknowledges that Trump has no authority to shrink a national monument,” said Spivak. “There’s no public support for this kind of radical legislation. Bishop’s only motivation is greed. He’s offering a gift to the fossil fuel, mining and timber industries and expecting something in return.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.5 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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