Tuesday, Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT), Chairman of the House Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, will hold a hearing that, among many things, will examine the Utah Lands Sovereignty Act H.R. 2147- legislation that will prevent the Administration from using the Antiquities Act to unilaterally designate new national monuments in the state.
The Utah Lands Sovereignty Act was introduced on June 14, 2011 by Congressman Bishop and Congressman Chaffetz. Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Senator Hatch and Senator Lee. In 1950, Congress passed a law that prohibited the future establishment of national monuments in Wyoming except as authorized by Congress.В H.R. 2147 would provide Utah with the same level of protection.
вЂњThe Treasured Landscapes memo served as a canary in a coal mine, lifting the veil off the disingenuous agenda hatched by the current Administration to unilaterally lock up millions of acres throughout the West from multiple-use. Using the Antiquities Act would allow the Administration to circumvent the open congressional process, a necessary component of all new lands designations,вЂќ said Congressman Bishop.В вЂњThe congressional process helps ensure that the livelihoods of communities, residents, businesses and stakeholders are examined and thoughtfully considered before new public land designations are made.вЂќ
Last year, Congressman Bishop obtained a leaked copy of an internal Department of Interior memo titled вЂњTreasured LandscapesвЂќ that lists as many as 14 possible new national monuments, two of which are located in Utah. In total, the memo, which has since generated a groundswell of opposition across the West, identifies as many as 13 million acres of federally owned land and approximately 26 million acres of private land as areas that could potentially be subject to national monument designations.
вЂњRadical special interest groups continue to push the administration to use the Antiquities Act. Recently former DOI Secretary Bruce Babbitt urged the Administration to use the Antiquities Act as a tool to lock up millions of acres of public lands.В In light of these ongoing efforts, it is essential that Utah and other western states put in place a measure similar to that of Wyoming to ensure that the Antiquities Act cannot be used to destroy livelihoods in an effort to fulfill political agendas.вЂќ