WASHINGTON, D.C. ― U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) led a group of 61 Democratic Members of Congress in introducing legislation Tuesday to enhance protections for national monuments against the Trump administration’s attacks on public lands.
The America’s Natural Treasures of Immeasurable Quality Unite, Inspire, and Together Improve the Economies of States (ANTIQUITIES) Act of 2018 is the House companion to Senator Tom Udall’s (D-NM) ANTIQUITIES Act (S. 2354) and would preserve opportunities for hunting, tourism, scientific research, conservation, and cultural uses in our national monuments and protect them against any potential future attacks by President Trump.
“I am proud to introduce the ANTIQUITIES Act with Senator Tom Udall to permanently protect our treasured national monuments. Nationwide, these precious public lands help fuel an $887 billion outdoor recreation industry, which sustain millions of jobs and billions of dollars in federal, state, and local tax revenue. Our national monuments here in New Mexico, including the Rio Grande del Norte and the Organ Mountains, contain sacred tribal areas and provide outstanding opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, and tourism. They are natural museums of our state’s cultural heritage that pump millions of dollars into our local and state economy. It is our responsibility to help protect these lands for the use, benefit, and enjoyment of all Americans now and for generations to come,” said Rep. Lujan Grisham.
The ANIQUITIES Act would permanently protect and enhance our nation’s monuments by:
Declaring Congress’ support for the 51 national monuments established by presidents in both parties between January 1996 and April 2017.
Reiterating existing law that makes clear that presidential proclamations designating national monuments are valid and can only be reduced or diminished by an act of Congress—the President lacks the legal authority to do so under the Antiquities Act.
Requiring national monuments be surveyed, mapped and that management plans be completed in two years—in the same manner as congressionally designated national monuments. It also ensures that national monuments receive additional resources so they will continue to meet their full potential of providing unmatched economic, recreational, and cultural benefits to their states and to the nation.
Expanding protection for the Bears Ears National Monument to over 1.9 million acres, based on the lands identified in the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition’s proposal that would protect the full array of over 100,000 cultural and archaeological sites.
Designating over 249,000 acres of land as wilderness within Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains national monuments.
Designating over 111,000 acres of land as wilderness in Gold Butte National Monument.
The ANTIQUITIES Act is co-sponsored by: Reps. Ruben Gallego, Dina Titus, Suzanne Bonamici, Barbara Lee, Bobby Rush, Jerry McNerney, Ruben Kihuen, Raúl Grijalva, Judy Chu, Adam Smith, Brendan Boyle, Grace Napolitano, Darren Soto, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Betty McCollum, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Anthony Brown, Michael Capuano, Donald Payne, Jr., Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, Earl Blumenauer, Salud Carbajal, Jan Schakowsky, Ron Kind, Nydia M. Velazquez, Alan Lowenthal, Jared Huffman, Matt Cartwright, Niki Tsongas, Jacky Rosen, Scott Peters, Nanette Barragán, Donald McEachin, Albio Sires, Mark DeSaulnier, Zoe Lofgren, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Dwight Evans, Sean Patrick Maloney, José E. Serrano, Jackie Speier, Frederica S. Wilson, Ben Ray Luján, Derek Kilmer, Anna Eshoo, James McGovern, Steve Cohen, Jimmy Panetta, Mark Pocan, Jared Polis, Jimmy Gomez, Brian Higgins, Diana DeGette, Mike Doyle, Suzan DelBene, Beto O’Rourke, Colleen Hanabusa, Norma Torres, Kathy Castor, John Garamendi, Terri Sewell, and Mike Thompson.
In addition, the following groups and leaders support this legislation: National Parks Conservation Association, Conservation Lands Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Wilderness Society, League of Conservation Voters, EarthJustice, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, and Sierra Club.
E. Paul Torres, Chairman, All Pueblo Council of Governors:
“Our Pueblo nations stand with Congresswoman Lujan Grisham and her colleagues in support of the ANTIQUITIES Act. Protecting our tribal and natural heritage is important to us all. In addition to the economic benefits local communities and tribes can access, we are particularly aware of the critical cultural legacies that the ANTIQUITIES ACT would safeguard. We have seen recent and unprecedented attacks on our cultural heritage with the Trump Administration’s decision to shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, along with continued threats to our two newest national monuments in New Mexico. This legislation ends those threats and makes progress in community based management plans and funding.”
Robb Hirsch, Board President, Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce:
“Our potential as a state is deeply tied to our public lands, especially from an economic development perspective,” said Robb Hirsh, Board Chair for the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce and owner of WindForce, Inc., a New Mexico-based renewable energy development company. “At the end of the day, this support from Senators Udall and Heinrich, and now Representatives Lujan Grisham and Luján, is support for business and tourism, which goes hand-and-had with conserving our air, land, and water for future generations to enjoy.”
Corey Asbill, Board Chair, Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce:
“This legislation already had the support of dozens of groups and millions of people, as evident from the public comments that were collected when President Trump tried to hijack our national monuments. The people of New Mexico spoke and Congresswoman Lujan Grisham heard us and acted accordingly. Hunters, hikers, and business owners across the state applaud this bill.”
Mark Allison, Executive Director, New Mexico Wild:
“These areas have a special place in the heart of New Mexicans and this legislation recognizes the desire to keep them wild and free for this and all future generations. New Mexicans are rightly proud of the importance of these areas to our natural and cultural heritage. This bill recognizes and responds to the extreme attacks President Trump has leveled against the nation’s bedrock conservation laws, our national monuments, and public lands in general. Congresswoman Lujan Grisham is demonstrating the vision and leadership to go to bat for New Mexicans and protect the Land of Enchantment. She is doing what we all want the rest of congress to be doing – offering solutions.”
Michael B. Casaus, New Mexico State Director, The Wilderness Society:
“Now more than ever we need leadership in Washington to protect public lands for future generations. The unlawful dismantling of national monuments and lack of action in Congress to protect wilderness areas flies in the face of what Americans have been demanding—better protections for our shared lands. This bill gives Congress an opportunity to do what’s right and represent the very people who got them elected. The Congresswoman’s leadership will not only benefit New Mexicans, it will ensure millions of voices are finally being heard.”
Todd Leahy, Acting Executive Director, New Mexico Wildlife Federation:
“Every time this administration attacks our public lands, New Mexicans have joined Americans across the country in fighting back. Over and over again we’ve heard the same thing – New Mexicans want national monuments to stay protected as they are. With this legislation today, Congresswoman Lujan Grisham is protecting our culture, economy, and outdoor opportunities for future generations.”
Brian Sybert, Executive Director, Conservation Lands Foundation:
“The national network of locally-based advocates who are safeguarding National Conservation Lands strongly supports this legislation because it is vital to protecting the public’s access to lands that make America’s culture, environment and history exceptional. Without it, America stands to lose a foundational underpinning of rural economies and way of life for millions of Americans, as well as public access to lands for hunting and outdoor recreation, and irreplaceable habitats for diverse species, clean air and water. Polls show overwhelming support for protecting these treasured places and Congress has a responsibility to protect and steward them for all Americans. We urge swift passage of this legislation that’s so important to our country’s history and its future.”
Ralph Arellanes, Executive Director of the New Mexico League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) & Chairman of the Hispano Round Table of New Mexico:
“America’s National Monuments recognize the diverse heritage of our nation, including that of Hispanos and Latinos. These protected places on our public lands, such as Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Rio Grande del Norte, must remain intact. We applaud Congresswoman Lujan Grisham and Congressman Ben Ray Luján for standing up to make sure that they do.”
Alexandra Merlino, Executive Director, Partnership for Responsible Business:
James C. Jimenez, Executive Director, New Mexico Voices for Children:
“We thank Congresswoman Lujan Grisham for defending our protected public lands and the historic epicenters where many of the critical turning points in our nation’s history were made. Our national monuments represent the natural, racial, and cultural tapestry that is America. They tell the diverse stories of our country and ensure present and future generations have public lands where they can connect with family, friends, and nature.”
Gregg Flores, Cinematographer & Founder of Where The River Runs:
“Public lands and national monuments have provided me with an incredible opportunity to grow as an artist and find success in the film and photography industry. By working with non-profits and other businesses to promote the beauty of our national monuments I have honed my craft and grown my business. I have therefore seen first-hand the positive impact these special places have had on our economy and on the future of our heritage.”