The Antiquities Act gives the President of the United States power to declare national monuments. A bill sponsored by Republican Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar wants to limit that presidential authority, which has been in place for more than 100 years. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports.
Congressman Gosar’s primary goal is to prevent a national monument designation on land near Grand Canyon National Park. The bill would require approval from local officials before a monument could be created. The bill goes further to prohibit monument declarations in Coconino, Mohave and Yavapai counties. Gosar says his bill will protect private property and water rights, and local economies that he feels are harmed by the creation of national monuments.
But Arizona Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva and leaders from area tribes have urged President Obama to declare nearly 2 million acres outside the national park, the Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument. They want to protect water resources from uranium mining and other activities near the park as well as tribal sacred sites.
Gosar’s bill will have to be approved by the Natural Resources Committee before possible consideration by the full House. And then, of course, the president himself would have to sign it.