Bishop to Target Antiquities Act

In the wake of Pres. Obama’s latest round of national monument designations, Rep. Rob Bishop says it’s time to revisit the more-than-a-century-old law that allows presidents to bypass Congress and establish such protected areas.

Reports E & E:

House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) labeled as “shameful” today’s designations of the 704,000-acre Basin and Range National Monument in east-central Nevada and two other smaller sites in Texas and California. He vowed that his committee will “try and rectify” the broad powers that he said give presidents too much authority to permanently close off public lands through monument designations.

Obama used his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to bring to 19 the number of new monuments he has designated since 2009. Through executive actions, Obama has helped preserve more than 260 million acres of public lands and waters — more than any other president, according to the White House.

“We’re going to have to go in there and fix all the crap that this administration just did,” Bishop told Greenwire today at the Capitol. “Because they don’t go through the process, they don’t think ahead, they don’t solve the problems ahead of time. All they do is make a political statement, and that’s what the Antiquities Act has become: an abusive political statement.”

Among the unresolved issues for Bishop are whether the new monuments will protect existing grazing, recreation and water rights.