Ravell Call, Deseret News Archives
As proposed amendments to the 1906 Antiquities Act go, HR1459, sponsored by Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, is mild. It would require any presidential declaration of a new national monument to undergo a review under the National Environmental Policy Act.
It is a small step, but a good one. We prefer earlier proposals that would have required a president to seek public input from those affected, as well as from the governor and congressional delegation of the state in which the monument is to be created.
For that matter, why not make the designation of a national monument subject to congressional approval? In a nation that values checks and balances and public input, why should a president be granted such unilateral power?
In 1906, President Teddy Roosevelt used the Act to protect sensitive natural wonders, particularly in the West. But today the Act gives presidents too much temptation to use monuments as political tools.
Utahns are all-too-familiar with the prime example of such abuse. In the middle of his 1996 campaign for re-election, President Bill Clinton called a press conference at the Grand Canyon and solidified his political base by declaring almost 2 million acres of Southern Utah the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
The vast new monument included some areas worth preserving, and some not, and it tied up vast underground reserves of coal.
HR1459 passed the House this week, 222-201. It isn’t likely to pass the Senate. That’s unfortunate, because it’s time this outdated declaration of presidential power was tempered.
- Jay Evensen: Ask people in the Third World if...
- In our opinion: Alleged medicinal benefits of...
- My view: Medical marijuana: Google vs. PubMed
- George F. Will: Break the dentists' hold on...
- Rely on invisible hand?
- My view: Why so many Americans find Trump and...
- My view: Scouting: Friend or foe?
- My view: Does going to pot send the wrong...
- In our opinion: National security and... 79
- Robert J. Samuelson: The false charms... 58
- My view: Scouting: Friend or foe? 39
- Barack Obama: Religious freedom keeps... 34
- Jay Evensen: Legislature's pornography... 32
- In our opinion: Alleged medicinal... 32
- Letter: Coal and job creation 24
- Rely on invisible hand? 23