What do Muir Woods, Devil’s Tower, Statue of Liberty, and Grand Canyon have in common?
All four areas were originally established and protected under the provisions of the Antiquities Act, the 1906 legislation which allows the President of the United States to designate areas as National Monuments, protecting archeological sites, our cultural heritage, wild lands, and marine ecosystems.
But Utah members of the US House of Representatives have introduced legislation to gut the Antiquities Act, allowing future Presidents (or our current President) to:
The anti-environment majority of the US House Resources Committee has passed the legislation, and it is awaiting floor action in the US House of Representatives.
At the urging of the Utah Republicans and fossil fuel special interests, President Trump and his Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, shrank the boundaries of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments that were established to protect wild lands and sacred sites in Utah. Fortunately, legal action by environmentalists and Native American Tribes threatens to overturn Trump’s gratuitous action, and thus protect these public spaces from oil drilling and uranium mining.
Call and write your members of Congress and Senators, urging them to oppose HR 3990, legislation that would effectively eviscerate the Antiquities Act.
The International Marine Mammal Project and Shark Stewards, represented by the Stanford and UC-Irvine Environmental Law Clinics, are planning litigation should the Trump Administration go forward with plans to shrink the size and/or weaken protections for the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.
For more information, see the story in the latest issue of Earth Island Journal.