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Original Action Alert:
Legislation (H.R. 1459) introduced by House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) will be considered by the full House of Representatives this week. Joining Bishop on the legislation as cosponsors are Representatives Amodei (R-NV), Chaffetz (R-UT), Gosar (R-AZ), Lummis (R-WY), Pearce (R-NM), Stewart (R-UT) and Walden (R-OR). As a constituent of one of these members it is important that you send an email thanking your Representative for cosponsoring H.R. 1459.
H.R. 1459 would ensure that the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) applies to the declaration of national monuments over 5,000 acres. As you know, NEPA requires extensive environmental review of most agency actions that impact the management of public lands. The Administration however, has unilateral authority to designate objects as National Monuments and several Presidents have abused this authority to designate massive swaths of public lands as National Monuments, often without widespread local support for the designation. This bill would ensure that National Monument designations of more than 5,000 acres will require the same NEPA analysis as all other actions that have an impact on the management of public lands – including the meaningful involvement of local stakeholders. Designations of less than 5,000 acres would require NEPA or Congressional approval within three years. Further, the bill would also allow no more than one designation per state during any presidential four-year term.
Too often when there is no widespread local and Congressional support for designating public lands as wilderness or otherwise limiting multiple-use access, proponents seek to achieve their goal by calling for the Administration to designate the area as a National Monument. There are areas all across the country that anti-access proponents are urging the Administration to designate as National Monuments, including the 1.4 million acre Canyonlands in Utah. It is imperative that the Members who work to protect access hear from us that we support their efforts to ensure that local stakeholders have a say in the management of the public lands that they live near, recreate on, and on which their livelihoods depend.