Sens. Cruz, Lee, Colleagues Fight for Transparency in National Monuments Designation Process
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) recently introduced the Congressional Oversight of the Antiquities Act with Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) to reform the Antiquities Act of 1906 and ensure accountability over more transparent designations of national monuments. Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, M.D. (R-Iowa) and John Curtis (R-Utah) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
Upon introducing the bill, Sen. Cruz said, “The broad language of the Antiquities Act of 1906 has been severely distorted by several administrations to seize rural land without any consequences. Accountability is necessary. Our bill requires the President to receive congressional approval for the designation of a national monument, limiting his ability to make reckless decisions involving public lands.”
- Since its inception, the Antiquities Act has been a tool to protect archaeological resources on public lands. Over the years, however, there have been instances where the Act’s broad language has been used to unilaterally designate vast amounts of public land as national monuments without sufficient public input or Congressional oversight.
- The bill highlights instances like the designation of the Grand-Staircase-Escalante National Monument under President Clinton and the Bears Ears National Monument under President Obama. Both monuments cover millions of acres. Most recently, President Biden’s establishment of a 917,600-acre monument in northern Arizona further underscores the necessity for reform.
- The bill has received endorsements by the American Farm Bureau Foundation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Public Lands Council, American Forest Resource Council, and Federal Forest Resource Coalition.