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H.R. 1050 (116th): ANTIQUITIES Act

In December 2017, President Trump completed the largest rollback of national monument designations in U.S. history, reducing the size of the Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument — both in Utah — by a cumulative 2 million acres.

A month into her congressional tenure, the very first bill Rep. Haaland ever introduced was the ANTIQUITIES Act, which stands for “America’s Natural Treasures of Immeasurable Quality Unite, Inspire, and Together Improve the Economies of States.” The bill would clarify that Congress must officially declare any national monuments. It would also re-expand Bears Ears to 1.9 million acres and designate about 250,000 acres in Rep. Haaland’s home state of New Mexico as federally protected.

The name is a deliberate homage to the original Antiquities Act of 1906, which originally allowed the president to declare national monuments.

“We love our public lands, we love our open spaces, and we care about the future we’re going to leave for our children, but this administration has been illegally attacking our nation’s treasures so it can sell them off to oil companies and developers,” Rep. Haaland said in a press release. “As my first piece of legislation this bill expands on my efforts to fight climate change by protecting land from extraction, honor our sacred sites, and ensure our beautiful places are here for future generations. Our public lands are not for sale.”

Republicans contend not only that President Trump had the power to recede or rescind the monuments if he chose, but also that the bill may be unconstitutional. In the 1920 Supreme Court case Cameron v. United States, the Court unanimously upheld that President Theodore Roosevelt had the right to declare the Grand Canyon a national monument.

Despite receiving 113 cosponsors, all Democrats, the bill never received a vote in the Democratic-controlled House.

Last updated Dec 28, 2020. View all GovTrack summaries.

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Feb 7, 2019.

America's Natural Treasures of Immeasurable Quality Unite, Inspire, and Together Improve the Economies of States Act or the ANTIQUITIES Act

This bill provides for the administration of certain National Monuments and the designation of certain lands in New Mexico and Nevada as wilderness.

This bill directs the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to administer each specified national monument in accordance with (1) the one or more presidential proclamations that apply to the monument, (2) any Act of Congress enacted before December 4, 2017, that provides for an adjustment to the boundary or administration of such monument, and (3) this bill.

The bill establishes the National Monument Enhancement Fund to furnish funding (1) to such federal agencies to develop management plans for their national monuments that were designated under current federal law, (2) for federal acquisition and development of certain land and other areas, and (3) to develop and enhance recreational infrastructure on such designated lands.

The bill designates specified BLM lands within the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Rio Grande del Norte National Monuments in New Mexico and in the Gold Butte National Conservation Area in Nevada as wilderness and as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System.

The Department of the Interior shall manage approximately 100 acres of BLM land in New Mexico identified as Lookout Peak Communication Site in a manner that preserves the character of the land for future inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System.