House Passes Legislation to Provide Public Input in National Monument Designations

Last week, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1459, the Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation of National Monuments Act. The measure passed 222 to 201, with three Democrats siding with Republicans and ten Republicans siding with Democrats. Safari Club International (SCI) congratulates the members who supported H.R. 1459. 413348_344616405612794_982864014_o.jpg

H.R. 1459 would require that Presidential designations of national monuments, over 5,000 acres, go through the normal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and would require Congressional approval for multiple monument designations in one state.  SCI opposes the large-scale designation of national monuments without public input and study of the impact of such designation. This measure will ensure that privately owned land will no longer come under the threat of being federally allocated.

The majority of the designations Teddy Roosevelt made, in 1906 under the Antiquities Act, were in territories that were not states and unfortunately this law hasn’t evolved over time. In 1996, President Clinton designated nearly two million acres of land in Utah as a national monument. The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was made without any advance notice. The President’s power under the Antiquities Act is no longer about saving at risk land – rather scoring political points.

Recently, the administration has used the national monument designation as a catalyst to consider recreational shooting bans, such as in the cases of the Ironwood National Monument and Sonoran Desert National Monument, and to limit recreational access. National monument designations affect sportsmen and deserve to be reviewed in the same way as any other land designation. SCI is the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and represents millions of hunters around the world.

Environmentalists claim that this bill “seeks to erect unnecessary and costly regulatory roadblocks to the designation of national monuments.” This claim is disingenuous and stinks of hypocrisy. These same radical environmentalists have opposed numerous recent bills to streamline the NEPA process and reduce “unnecessary and costly regulatory roadblocks.”

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