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Matthew Anderson: The Uses and Abuses of the Antiquities Act and How to Reform It

October 18, 2017

The Antiquities Act allows presidents to unilaterally declare vast swaths of land as national monuments, without Congressional input often overriding the concerns of state and local authorities. Its time for President Trump to end this abuse.

Matthew Anderson says the Antiquities Act was written with the best of intentions to protect on an emergency basis Indian artifacts and archaeological sites from destruction and looting. Yet, overtime Presidents have abused their authority to place millions of acres off limits to development in order to burnish their legacy. They get a plaque declaring their greatness, the people get shafted, and the land is actually often placed at increased risk. Its time to reform and limit Presidential power to declare national monuments without local input.
Author
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
hsburnett@heartland.org