Amend the 1906 Antiquities Act

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  • NickWI1983 Port Washington, WI
    May 1, 2015 5:45 p.m.

    the only amending the Antiquities Act needs is to lift the limits currently in place in Wyoming and Alaska and to formally recognize the Presidents power as permanent and seperate from Congress. Congress already has enough checks on the President:
    Only Congress can elevate a monument to park or wilderness status
    2 only Congress can abolish a monument.
    the presidents powers are limited to land the feds already own or is given to the feds for conservation purposes. the Act was passed in 1906 as a means to act quickly to conserve areas like Mesa Verde. While monuments were likely intended to be small, the only limit in the Act is that the area conserved is to be ' the smallest area necessary to conserve the artifact within' Congress does not act quickly in the best of times, since Obama took office Congress has only created 2 national monuments - Prehistoric Trackways in New Mexico and Tule Springs in Nevada- thats state first national monument since Lehman Caves was absorbed into Grand basin National Park in 1986. since 1906 only 40 of the monuments were created by Congress, the vast majority come from one President or another.

  • Utahhikerdad TOOELE, UT
    March 29, 2014 10:31 a.m.

    The Antiquities Act covers federal land -- land owned by all the people of the United States. A person living in Orlando is as much a "local" as a person living in Escalante. If the land is endangered by rampant, unrestrained, self-serving interests, the President should have the untrammelled right to protect it.

    I am not a big fan of Pres Clinton, but, having visited Grand Staircase many times, I'm glad he made it a National Monument. I don't care what his motivations were, I'm just glad he did it. I hope Pres Obama will do the same for Greater Canyonlands, and soon.

  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    March 28, 2014 10:27 p.m.

    Government works best if those nearest to it have greatest influence on what happens. Thomas Jefferson was an advocate of strong local government, as have been many of our finest leaders. As other posters have stated the Antiquities Act was not intended to give a president the kind of power that Clinton grabbed at every chance.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    March 28, 2014 9:08 p.m.

    Opponents simply cannot point to one instance where a President created a National Monument and it had a negative affect. In each and every time the local economies became exponentially better.
    When the Grand Canyon first became a National Monument, there was actually people living in Arizona who opposed it.
    I'll take forward thinking any day. Humans just need to stop regressing.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    March 28, 2014 5:33 p.m.

    @CHS 85

    Actually it doesn't beg to differ.

    It talks ONLY about creation of laws by congress, it says nothing of the relationship between t the states and the federal government.

    This is definitely one act that need checks and balances.

    The founding father s never wanted or intended for one man or even one branch to have such power.

    It seems only the "kingmen" or progressives want such power.

    The "freemen" certainly do not want this power given to any one man or branch.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 28, 2014 4:31 p.m.

    So why don't we just let Presidents, and people who are most separated from the locals... make these difficult decisions? Decisions the locals seem to not be able to figure out because they are confused by the local interests, businesses, etc, etc...

    Because that's not how our country works. That's totalitarianism.


    And if Congress can't be trusted... why have them?

    For that matter... why have that whole nasty Constitution thing that tells us we should have checks and balances, and that the States should have all but a few powers reserved for the Federal Government??

    Let Presidents and people not confused by local interests make ALL the decisions!

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    March 28, 2014 3:29 p.m.

    The Grand Canyon was vigorously opposed by locals when it was designated, as were most of Utah's parks, monuments and wilderness areas.

    Some decisions are best made away from the short-term, temptation-riddled interests of the people who would benefit from opening up tracts of resources for development.

    Who is in a better position to make wise decisions about local land use policies: a city councilman, who happens to be best friends with the developer... or maybe the governor of the state?

    By the same token, the President is better able to resist temptations that locally elected officials would have a hard time resisting. How many US Presidents have been convicted of ordinary, garden-variety corruption, the kind we see all the time? None.

    Congress can't agree on what day of the week it is... why would anyone think they should have *more* authority?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 28, 2014 2:13 p.m.

    CHS 85,
    Nobody said we should do away with the antiquities act (that's a straw-man).
    So we don't have to imagine America with no antiquities act. Nobody's proposing that.

    All they are proposing is amending it.

    The bill amends it to require a public comment period for locals to be heard. What's so "Bad" about that??


    It has been amended twice already.

    Once in 1943 and again during the Carter admin.

    Both times in response to Presidential abuses of this power.

    Google "antiquities act - reduction of powers"...
    or "Antiquities act abuses"...


    The original intent in 1906 to protect prehistoric Indian ruins and artifacts. It's been used for more things since then. Sometimes even to punish a political opponent.

    That's when Presidents get into trouble... when they abuse it.

    Our congressional delegation asked for a comment period when they learned what Clinton was going to do, but President Clinton refused (had to gitter done, only had days before he was out of office).

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    March 28, 2014 1:04 p.m.

    Imagine a country with no Antiquities Act. Those who know why the Antiquities Act was established appreciate what it has done to preserve vast amounts of scenic and historic areas. Those who don't know why it was established just cry "federal takeover."

    Study up on it. Learn how Grand Canyon National Monument was established and why a unilateral action was necessary. Go to Alaska and see firsthand why it needed to protect vast tracts of unique land. Go to the outer islands of Hawaii and see why the coral reefs there needed to be protected.

    Really learn about it, don't just take Rob Bishop's interpretation of the Antiquities Act to be the gospel. There may be a hidden agenda there. There's lots of impartial information out there about it.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    March 28, 2014 1:00 p.m.


    "State sovereignty should trump federalism in most cases."

    I think the Supremacy Clause in the inspired Constitution would beg to differ.

  • nonceleb Salt Lake City, UT
    March 28, 2014 12:55 p.m.

    @ 2 Bits
    You make a false assumption about who knows what about our lands. I was flabbergasted when I read a report from then Senator Bill Bradley of New York. He listed over 70 areas by name (many of which I had never heard of and I am a Utah mountain and wilderness enthusiast) which would be protected by monument, park or wilderness designation in Utah. He had done his research and knew more about Utah scenic lands than out entire congressional delegation combined.
    I wonder if Bishop has even hiked in Grand-Staircase Escalante. I have been there over a dozen times since it was created, and it would have been likely less, if it had not been designated as a national monument. That is also true with many out-of-state visitors. I am surprised that the DN would take this stand and be concerned about the coal being "locked up" there. Even the IPP is considering converting to natural gas.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    March 28, 2014 11:08 a.m.

    So, Samhill, you are saying that our founding fathers would have welcomed the Antiquities Act. Granting the President power to set aside priceless places for all time is, in fact, part of that "check and balance" and is working as they intended.

    As long as we have people like Rob Bishop in office, we need things like the Antiquities Act to check and balance him and others like him.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    March 28, 2014 9:33 a.m.

    Yes, the idea of check and balances AND diversity of voices should most assuredly apply to situations like this.

    Those who believe that Presidents should be granted this kind of power were the same type who resisted the idea of seeking independence from King George.

  • Rufio Saratoga, UT
    March 28, 2014 9:26 a.m.

    The power of the Federal government was always intended to be balanced and tempered. It is always a mess when a few fringe zealots hold an entire area, state, or region hostage because their limited views are more important. There needs to be less Presidential exclusivity and more "we the people" involvement. State sovereignty should trump federalism in most cases.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 28, 2014 9:23 a.m.

    Yes... bless you, bless you Bill Clinton (kisses his ring repeatedly)... You saved Utah from being completely covered by evil oil wells.... bless you...

    Give me a break!


    Was the whole grand staircase area really in danger of being covered with oil wells?

    Was that what motivated the President? I don't think so.

    It was mainly to score some points with environmentalists (who's support his party needed in the coming election), and at the same time poke a finger in the eye of a group his party saw as their enemy (Our Congressional Delegation and Utahns, specifically what he heard was a lot of land hating hick southern Utahns infesting this area and threatening to spread into the grand staircase area).

    I thought this law was intended to preserve antiquities... not a shortcut to smak-down businesses the President doesn't like without having to go through Congress, any checks or balances, OR local input...

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    March 28, 2014 9:15 a.m.

    Rob Bishop’s idea of ‘checks and balances’ has been to keep bi-partisan bills designating wilderness area from even making it to the floor of the House to be voted on. And he expects us to believe that Congress rather than the Executive branch should be empowered to expedite action in matters of public lands designation?

    We saw an example of Congressional diligence in the Federal Government shutdown last fall. That left Utah’s National Parks closed to the public, thanks due to the Congressional Tea Party Caucus of which Bishop is a member. It’s obvious to me whose interests Rob Bishop is looking out for.

  • Sandy Citizen50 SANDY, UT
    March 28, 2014 8:49 a.m.

    Too bad this bill will not pass. The premise of the article that "checks and balance" be in place is very compelling. The people of the State should have a voice in issues that affect their future. Big government, in too many instants will disregard people and trample them in the name of "we know best." In the case of Clinton's action, it was clearly an abuse of power that has long-term affects on the State and especially the local residents of Southern Utah. I suspect that most Utahn's would support protection of lands that have sensitive and emotional value, however, before we allow any more misuse of laws for political gain, let's see if we can get more diverse stake holders involved, so that we can come to a working plan for as many people as possible. Matheson and Bennett, showed us a good example of trying to work with both developers, local residents, and environmentalist when they had their bill about Washington County.

  • Cool Cat Cosmo Payson, UT
    March 28, 2014 8:47 a.m.

    As much as I despise the corruption I see in Utah politics, two wrongs do NOT make a right. Though just a small boy at the time of Clinton's land grab, having grown up in Southern Utah and living there at the time our family knew several people directly affected by Pres. Clinton's unilateral actions.

    The idea of checks and balances is an important one, and certainly that sort of unchecked power hearkens more towards a Putin-like "democracy" than it should. Locals deserve the right to have a say in any such actions, and so I support reform in this matter.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 28, 2014 8:44 a.m.

    Usually Progressives WANT to update stuff and move forward. The Constitution is too old and out of date, but THIS 100+ your old rule can not change, not one iota.... go figure.

    Just this one rule/law they can not be allowed to be updated or amended... (because it works so well for them the way it is).

    The amendment is just to add a comment period for local residents to weigh in on the impact to them before it happens... is that too much... to ask?

    I guess so....


    Why would you want any LOCAL input? Presidents and politicians in the East know WAY more about what the impact would be to local people. I don't know why they consult local people on ANYTHING... they know so much.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    March 28, 2014 8:23 a.m.

    A President can take immediate action that prevents industry from charging in and doing irreversible damage. From what I gather, Bishop’s proposal offers no provision for keeping development on hold pending review. In come the corporate lobbyists and lawyers. The only remedy then left before it’s too late would be to obtain an immediate court injunction that may or may not be issued.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    March 28, 2014 8:06 a.m.

    Once again, the D News falls on the side of corporations and profit. Congressman Bishop's bill is a terrible step in the wrong direction. We're fortunate the bill will go no where outside of the House. Utahn's are blessed to live in such beautiful country and to have had past Presidents protect a few of our treaures with federal protection.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    March 28, 2014 7:42 a.m.

    Are we still talking about 1996? Let it go.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    March 28, 2014 6:43 a.m.

    Sorry, Deseret News, you are dead wrong on this. Clinton did the right thing. All he did is preserve a lot of land from being destroyed by industry, preserved for future generations. And Bishop's bill goes beyond your description. It requires much more and is intended to serve special interests. Please, I beg of you, come back to the middle. There are too many right wing interests served by this paper.

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    March 28, 2014 6:40 a.m.

    Don't you think if we "tie up" to much wild land our grandchildren will be able undue all of this reckless preservation?

  • embarrassed Utahn! Salt Lake City, UT
    March 28, 2014 6:39 a.m.

    Bless you Bill Clinton! If Utah's "leaders" had their way, The Grand Staircase would be covered with oil wells.

    Why should a president have such unilateral power? Because Utah's politicians can't be trusted with the task of preserving anything. Enough said!