U.S. Representative John Curtis (UT-03) and Conservative Climate Caucus Vice Chair Mariannette Miller-Meeks, M.D. (IA-01) introduced the Congressional Oversight of the Antiquities Act, legislation that requires congressional approval for the designation of national monuments. Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Jim Risch (R-ID), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Mitt Romney (R-UT) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.
“It is abundantly clear Congress must prevent more abuses by the Antiquities Act that go against the will of impacted communities,” said Representative Curtis. “There is no question we can protect our public lands, but that should only be done with broad buy-in and collaboration. This legislation will ensure proper accountability and sustainability of our shared lands.”
“We must preserve the use of federal lands for responsible recreational, agricultural and energy use,” said Representative Miller-Meeks, M.D. “For years the Obama and Biden administrations used the Antiquities Act to institutionalize massive executive overreach, seizing acres and acres of land without consequence. In some congressional districts, almost 80% of rural land is set aside as public or federal land. The Congressional Oversight of the Antiquities Act would curb executive overreach and require the administration to consult Congress before making rash decisions about our federal lands.”
“The text of the Antiquities Act was clear – to protect significant archaeological and historic sites, but to do so with discretion and to ensure that the designated area was confined to the smallest size necessary for their protection,” Senator Lee said. “Regrettably, we have seen designations that far exceed this directive, impacting millions of acres and the lives of many in the West. My bill aspires to bring clarity and balance to this process, honoring both our historic legacy and the voices of affected communities.”
Original cosponsors of the Congressional Oversight of the Antiquities Act include: Congressional Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse (WA-04), Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14), Tom McClintock (CA-05), Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Cliff Bentz (OR-02), Matt Rosendale (MT-02), Burgess Owens (UT-04), John Rose (TN-06), Ashley Hinson (IA-02), and Richard Hudson (NC-09).
The Congressional Oversight of the Antiquities Act, requires congressional approval of presidential declarations within 6 months or before the end of the last session of the Congress it was introduced, whichever comes first.
If the legislation is not approved by Congress, the monument cannot be designated again by the President for 25 years.