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Amend the Antiquities Act, Restore Power to the People

May 13, 2015
Press Release


CONTACT: Katherine Rosario, 202-226-8414

Washington – Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) introduced legislation Tuesday (H.R. 2258) to amend the Antiquities Act of 1906 so presidential declaration of a national monument will be a temporary measure. For a new national monument to achieve permanent status, each designation must be approved by Congress and by the legislatures affected by the declaration. Congressman Buck released the following statement:

“This amendment is part of my broader mission in Congress, to restore power to the people. With this bill, I am working to give authority back to the people’s elected representatives. Our land and our natural resources are precious to us as Americans, and the Antiquities Act has historically served a good purpose. However, President Obama and other presidents in the past have abused the power granted to them by the Antiquities Act. This bill will prevent the President from unilaterally advancing a political or policy objective that is harmful to the local community affected by the designation of a national monument.”

The Antiquities Act of 1906 was originally intended to prevent looting of archaeological and Native American structures and objects. Rapid westward expansion and industrialization threatened the region’s natural wonders. The Antiquities Act addressed the problem by granting the president authority to designate, and thereby protect, places of extraordinary historic or scientific value as national monuments – without time-consuming congressional approval. Under the Antiquities Act, President Theodore Roosevelt preserved some of America's greatest treasures: Devil's Tower in Wyoming; El Morro in New Mexico; Muir Woods in California; the Petrified Forest and Grand Canyon in Arizona. Other presidents added to the long list, proclaiming national monuments large and small.  Today, however, western states are now populated by private citizens who elect their own local and state governments. Congressman Buck’s amendment would give them a greater say in decisions about how best to protect and use their land and natural resources.

Rep. Ken Buck (CO-04) is the Freshman Class President. He serves on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.  He serves on the OGR Subcommittees on Government Operations and the Interior and is a member of the Judiciary Subcommittees on Immigration and Border Security and Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.

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