Statement on Executive Order to review National Monuments
We at Keep It Public are deeply concerned by the recent executive order to review the past twenty-one years of national monument designations, which sets a dangerous precedent by legitimizing the idea of diminishing America’s public lands. Instead of looking backward, as this order proposes, we suggest looking forward to further improve managerial policies and stakeholder outreach.
National monuments are established by presidential proclamation in accordance with the Antiquities Act of 1906, which was signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt. The conservation-minded president promptly used it to protect an array of our most cherished landscapes, famously including the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River - now a national park. In total, sixteen presidents, among them eight Republicans and eight Democrats, have proclaimed new national monuments under the Antiquities Act. These public lands enjoy tremendous support from passionate individuals and organizations across the political spectrum. Upholding this tradition of public land is not a partisan issue, but an American issue.
Furthermore, public management of national monuments provides an opportunity for cooperative policymaking. These monuments, especially the recent ones, have empowered a wide variety of stakeholders - including local communities, ranchers, Tribal Nations, and recreationalists of all types - to make their voices heard and find common ground. This is exactly the sort of coalition building that we should be applauding - not looking to undo.
Rather than weakening the Antiquities Act, let's focus on providing our land managers the resources necessary to ensure all stakeholders' values are represented.