January 01, 2020

Beyond the Antiquities Act: Can the BLM Reconcile Energy Dominance and National Monument Protection?

John C. Ruple and Heather Tanana

Signed into law on June 8, 1906, the Antiquities Act is concise in its charge but broad in effect, authorizing presidents to designate national monuments to protect “objects of historic or scientific interest” on federally owned or controlled land. 54 U.S.C. § 320301(a). Republican and Democratic presidents have used this authority to designate over 150 national monuments across 32 states, the District of Columbia, and various U.S. territories. Many national monuments—including iconic landscapes like the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Zion in Utah, Joshua Tree in California, and Grand Teton in Wyoming—were subsequently elevated to national park status.

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