Op-ed: Leave the powers of the Antiquities Act in place

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  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 9, 2018 9:13 a.m.

    @ElizabethBee - 12:56 p.m.
    RE: "The large quantity of public lands is why I continue to live in this state"...
    You know it's still "Public Land"... right?

    I mean you guys get that right? It's still "Public Land".

    Just because it's not a National Monument does not mean it's no longer "Public Land".

    It's still open for public recreation too. Possibly even more open to more recreational opportunities than when it was a National Monument.


    Nobody's saying we don't need public land in Utah. This article is about the Antiquities Act, the process of forming huge National Monuments (without public recourse, by Presidential fiat).

    Public land = good thing
    Antiquities Act = good thing (but needs some oversight, not dictatorial power)
    National Monuments = a good thing
    Public Land with Multiple Use also = a good thing

    Dictatorial power for the President is never a good thing.

    Even the best President has needed some oversight, and some checks and balances. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama included.

    AA should be modified to require oversight and input from Congress before forming large monuments. Not just in Wyoming and Alaska, but even in Utah and every State.

  • ElizabethBee Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 31, 2017 12:56 p.m.

    The large quantity of public lands is why I continue to live in this state. Ask most of the business community how they manage to draw people to their location in Utah, and you will find that the promise of easy access to outdoor recreation and wilderness tops their list. This is what makes us special, to the tourists AND to our own citizens. Not supporting preservation of wilderness is condemning the Utah economy to mediocrity.

  • toosmartforyou Kaysville, UT
    Dec. 29, 2017 5:15 p.m.

    Asking for this misapplied act of Congress to remain in place, as is, is like saying one who abuses his children should be allowed to continue to do just that. Of all the abuses fostered on us from that fraternity in Washington DC, none is worse than "political abuse". It needs to be fixed.

  • cmsense Kaysville, UT
    Dec. 29, 2017 4:19 p.m.

    The size of monuments have gotten larger and larger and larger. Bears ears was proposed even about a 1/3 bigger than Obama made it. Natural Bridges and Hovenweep, now those were monuments that met the definition of smallest area consistent with protecting the treasures.

    Pigs get fat, Hogs get slaughtered. When environmentalist or Presidents becomes Hogs with land designations no longer meeting the letter or spirit of the act, yea there will be pushback and rightfully so questioning of the authority to do so.

    Yes, Utah is an arid state and grand vista's and area's should be protected. When the protected area wide expanses of sagebrush and rangeland with no particular or specific artifacts within miles, the letter and spirit of the act has been violated. No doubt the federal government should sell off some of the land to ranchers then our schools would have more money after the property taxes are paid. The federal government has a history of homesteading and giving land to settlers. There is no reason that should stop because we are an arid state. I hear the federal government is in need of money.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 29, 2017 11:04 a.m.

    RE: "Leave the powers of the Antiquities Act in place"...
    IMO it needs to remain in place, but it needs checks-and-balances added.

    It needs some oversight added.

    One-man-rule was never the pattern the Founding Fathers picked for America. But it is the format in the Antiquities Act. We need to change that, and add some oversight from the elected representatives of the people... like we have in every other area of our Government.

    America was never intended to be a Dictatorship. That's where the AA is wrong IMO. That needs to change.

    Environmentalists who make their living writing books about Utah's public lands may love how the AA can be wielded by one person... I am not with them.

    It needs more oversight. Especially when it's clear it has been used for politics in Utah.

    The AA has been used by Politicians to "reward our friends and punish our enemies" (Barack Obama's words).

    We need to put an end to that. The way to do that is to require oversight and consult our elected representatives (AKA Congress). Not just one man, who may be in the palm of radical environmentalists and want to reward them for voting for him, and not care much about what Utah wants.

  • majmajor Layton, UT
    Dec. 29, 2017 9:38 a.m.

    The author is confusing his arguments. Monument does not equal National Park. Monument really means nothing, and provides no resources to do anything to protect or enjoy the land. In the past, Monument creation has been used to punish the political opponents in congress, and make his political party feel good without paying the political price of actually funding the preservation.

    National Parks come with funding, law enforcement, realistic access accommodations, and real opportunities for the local economy. Monuments do none of the above.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Dec. 29, 2017 8:29 a.m.

    "When the editors write, Nearly two-thirds of Utah is owned by the federal government, they miss an essential truth. I would say, nearly two-thirds of Utah is owned by the people of the United States, managed and held in public trust by the federal government.

    Yes. And this was agreed to by Utah leaders, church officials that wanted to join the United States. They also agreed to give up polygamy and a theocratic government. That was their word and their contract. They can't go back on that agreement now. That would be dishonest.

  • Freiheit Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 29, 2017 7:21 a.m.

    Spoc, The last time Congress declared war was 12/11/41 in response to Germany's declaration against us. Requiring congressional approval of national monuments is an automatic end to any protection for valuable lands. The Antiquities Act has been of immense value to the nation and to the localities involved. Teton County, Wyoming is only the most spectacular example. The business community in Escalante would be another.

  • Prometheus Platypus Orem, UT
    Dec. 29, 2017 7:04 a.m.

    cjb - "Given the abuses of the past, change the antiquities act so that states have to approve any future designations."

    You must mean like the abuses by Bishop, given years to come up with a compromise between the federal government and Utah, but choose to collect money from special interests, only meet with those whom agreed with his land snatch initiative? You mean the way Obama used bishops recommendations and actually reduced the size?

    Yeah, maybe the problem isn't the law or the Democrat president, maybe it's the self serving GOP who believe that "public lands" are just corporate leases that haven't been sold.

  • Spoc Ogden, UT
    Dec. 29, 2017 12:09 a.m.

    Another approach would be to clarify that the intent of the Antiquities act was for emergency protection of sites to protect them while Congress made a decision about whether it was worth the investment to give it permanent protection.

    Emergency powers granted to the President are useful when speedy response is necessary. The War Powers Resolution of 1973 grants temporary authority to the President for 60 days to use the military to engage enemy forces without concurrence from Congress. If Congress fails to declare war during that time, the authority expires and the President then has 30 days to bring the troops home.

    The Antiquities Act should work the same way. At the end of a specific time period, designations under the Antiquities Act should either be acted on by Congress within 1 year or the designation should expire.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 28, 2017 7:47 p.m.

    Given the abuses of the past, change the antiquities act so that states have to approve any future designations.