In our opinion: It’s time to exempt Utah from the Antiquities Act


The Antiquities Act of 1906 is an anomaly in a nation the place major selections are to be tempered by the filter of representation and compromise. It provides the president complete authority to create national monuments.

One individual’s complete authority seldom serves the general public in addition to a democratic course of, which is why the Constitution established three separate branches of government, every appearing as a verify on the others’ power.

Now, 113 years later, the time has come to reinstate democracy and representative government within the creation of monuments, which frequently affect the fortunes of residents who stay close by.

A bill reintroduced by Utah Sen. Mike Lee, this time co-sponsored by Utah’s junior senator, Mitt Romney, would exempt Utah from the act, requiring not solely an act of Congress, however one of many state legislature, as nicely, earlier than new monuments might be created in the Beehive State.

The invoice is not good. It might prohibit a president from creating or expanding a monument in Utah. Why not additionally prohibit him from decreasing the dimensions of a monument? Shouldn’t local leaders have a say in any federal action that affects land inside the state’s boundaries?

The only distinction between President Donald Trump’s decree decreasing the sizes of the Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears monuments and the decrees of earlier presidents creating them is that they enraged and delighted totally different groups. All have been decrees, and a decree just isn’t a course of.

The senators are hoping to provide Utah the same kind of safety already prolonged to Alaska and Wyoming. In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created a monument at Jackson Gap that raised suspicions he was making an attempt to increase Grand Teton Nationwide Park, which Congress had refused to do.

A lot later, President Jimmy Carter created fifty six million acres of nationwide monuments in Alaska.

Both situations ultimately led to exemptions from the Antiquities Act for each state. A greater answer can be to simply amend the act to require Congress to create all future monuments, in any state, by way of legislation.

The Antiquities Act turned regulation in an era when People felt the necessity to protect antiquities from so-referred to as “pot hunters.” Rare artifacts have been shortly disappearing from historic ruins — typically stolen for revenue. The New York Occasions back then stated tons of relics from Utah cliff dwellings had ended up at the Chicago World’s Truthful of 1893 and later have been put up for public sale.

Congress joined many outraged People in wanting an answer that may permit the government to be nimble sufficient to shortly preserve those artifacts.

In the present day it’s unclear that the regulation has labored. Giant monuments are troublesome to police. Artifacts still disappear. Vandals trigger injury.

The act, in the meantime, has in some instances grow to be a political software and a seemingly countless source of division and acrimony.

The Shield Utah’s Rural Financial system Act is just like one Lee introduced last summer time. Congress…


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