National Trust Responds to House of Representatives' Vote to Restrict the Antiquities Act

Statement by Stephanie Meeks, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Washington – Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1459, the Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation of National Monuments Act, by a vote of 222 to 201. The following is a statement from Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation:

“We are deeply disappointed by the House vote to pass H.R. 1459. This bill sharply restricts the President’s authority to protect our nation’s most historically and culturally significant places. Over the last century, 16 presidents from both parties have used the Antiquities Act to create national monuments, providing swift and enduring preservation to places of critical importance to our nation’s history, including the Statue of Liberty, Chaco Canyon and Fort Monroe. 

“The National Trust remains dedicated to maintaining the strength of the Antiquities Act. We will continue to work with our allies on Capitol Hill, in the White House and around the nation to preserve the integrity of the Antiquities Act and its power to protect places that sustain local economies, broaden our understanding of history and stir our imagination."

BACKGROUND ON THE ANTIQUITIES ACT 

Since its passage by Congress in 1906, the Antiquities Act has been a critically important tool for the preservation of our public lands. Serving as a vital “insurance policy” for our nation’s historic, cultural and natural treasures, the Antiquities Act gives the president authority to grant national monument status to areas possessing significant historical and/or scientific values. Republican and Democratic presidents have used the Act to create a diverse array of national monuments, ranging from the small (under one acre) African Burial Ground in New York to the 139,797 square mile Papahanauokuakea Marine National Monument established by President George W. Bush.

 

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.
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