Congressional Delegation: ‘Our Home State Of Utah Has Repeatedly Fallen Victim To Overreaching Use Of The Antiquities Act’
Utah’s congressional delegation called on the Trump administration last week to rescind large-scale national monument designations in the state and to establish a new approach that takes into account the views and needs of impacted communities.
Utah has “repeatedly fallen victim to overreaching use of the Antiquities Act—a law that has become a tool of political advocacy rather than public interest,” Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee and Reps. Rob Bishop, Chris Stewart, Jason Chaffetz and Mia Love wrote in a May 25 letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
In early May, Zinke toured national monuments in Utah as part of an April 26 executive order directing the secretary’s review of large-scale national monument designations made since 1996 to determine whether they followed adequate public and stakeholder outreach. The Interior Department is also accepting comment from the public on monument designations.
In last week’s letter, the Utah delegation urged an approach to monument designations that considers the needs of local communities, echoing the testimonies of several state officials during a House committee hearing on the Antiquities Act earlier this month.
“Restoring the legitimacy of Antiquities Act authority in the eyes of the public requires a responsible and collaborative approach to monument designations—an approach that takes into account the needs of local communities and restores trust between states and the federal government,” the lawmakers wrote.