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In response to President Trump's decision to rescind Utah's Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, on February 7th, I along with more than 100 Democratic Members of Congress reintroduced legislation to protect our country's national monuments.  The America's National Treasures of Immeasurable Quality Unite, Inspire, and Together Improve the Economies of States (ANTIQUITIES) Act of 2019 reinforces Congress' fundamental intentions of the Antiquities Act of 1906.

Rescinding these monuments eliminated 2 million acres of protections, which is the largest rollback of federally protected land in America's history.  The President has indicated his intent to aggressively roll back protections from more national monuments, despite their historic and economic importance to our country.  



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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.  As my first piece of legislation, this bill expands on my efforts to fight climate change by protecting land from extraction, honoring our sacred sites, and ensuring our beautiful places will be here for future generations. Our public lands are not for sale.

America's national monuments and public lands are an integral part of the $887 billion outdoor recreation industry, which is responsible for 7.6 million jobs and creates $65.3 billion in federal tax revenue and $59.2 billion in local and state tax revenue. In New Mexico alone, the outdoor recreation economy is responsible for 99,000 jobs.

The ANTIQUITIES Act of 2019, protects and enhances national monuments with three main provisions:

  • It officially declares Congress’ support for the 52 national monuments established by presidents in both parties between January 1996 and October 2018 under their authority established by the Antiquities Act of 1906;

  • It reinforces that existing law clearly states that presidential proclamations designating national monuments are valid and cannot be reduced or diminished, except by an act of Congress; and

  • It further enhances protections for the presidentially designated national monuments by 1) requiring that they be surveyed, mapped and that management plans be completed in two years—in the same manner as congressionally designated national monuments—and 2) that they receive additional resources to ensure that they will continue to meet their full potential of providing unmatched economic, recreational, and cultural benefits to their states and to the nation.

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The bill also expands protection for the Bears Ears National Monument to over 1.9 million acres, directing that it be composed of the lands identified in the Bears Ears Tribal Coalition’s original proposal. In addition, it would designate over 249,000 acres of federal public lands in New Mexico as wilderness and add over 111,000 acres of wilderness in southern Nevada, building on the monument protections in these states.  This legislation preserves opportunities for hunting, tourism, scientific research, conservation, and cultural uses in national monuments and ensures they are properly resourced.

Text of the legislation can be found here.

Groups Supporting:

National Parks Conservation Association, Conservation Lands Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Wilderness Society, League of Conservation Voters, EarthJustice, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation, Grand Canyon Trust and the Council of Governors. Bears Ears Coalition Tribes (Hopi, Navajo, Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, and Zuni) and the All Pueblo Council of Governors.