02.11.19

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Supports Legislation to Protect America’s National Monuments from Unlawful Attacks

Legislation will reinforce that only Congress can alter national monuments to protect our public lands

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) joined more than 100 of her Congressional colleagues in reintroducing legislation to protect America’s treasured national monuments against the Trump administration’s relentless attacks on public lands.

The America’s Natural Treasures of Immeasurable Quality Unite, Inspire, and Together Improve the Economies of States (ANTIQUITIES) Act of 2019, led by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), reinforces Congress’ clear intent in the Antiquities Act of 1906: only Congress has the authority to modify a national monument designation. 

“Some of America’s greatest treasures are our National Monuments and we need to safeguard them for future generations,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m supporting this legislation to protect these historic monuments from the Trump administration’s attacks on our public lands. We need to reinforce Congress’ authority to preserve our national monuments and the joy they bring to families around the country.”

“One of the United States of America’s greatest traditions is the preservation of our iconic landscapes and the protection of our natural history,” said Senator Udall. “But within months of stepping into the Oval Office, President Trump and his administration sought to undo a centuries-old legacy of bipartisan conservation – overstepping their authority with illegal attacks on our cherished public lands, all to benefit the administration’s special interest friends. From Organ-Mountains Desert Peaks, to Rio Grande del Norte, to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, our national monuments are the product of years of collaboration at the local level, and they provide unmatched value to small businesses, outdoor enthusiasts, and communities that depend on a thriving outdoor recreation economy. This ANTIQUITIES Act makes it crystal clear: the president cannot just wipe away our treasured national monuments with the flick of a pen – because only Congress has the authority to change a national monument designation.”

The ANTIQUITIES Act comes in response to President Trump’s attempt to eliminate 2 million acres of protections for Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments — the largest rollback of federally protected lands in American history. Trump took this action despite the fact that Americans across the country overwhelmingly voiced support for keeping the monuments intact. During the administration’s public comment process, over 99 percent of the 2.8 million comments received were in favor of maintaining existing protections for our national monuments. 

National monuments and America’s protected public lands help fuel an $887 billion outdoor recreation industry, which sustains 7.6 million jobs and creates $65.3 billion in federal tax revenue and $59.2 billion in local and state tax revenue. 

In addition to Senators Baldwin and Udall, the ANTIQUITIES Act is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Ron Wyden (D-OR). A bicameral bill is being led in the House by Representatives Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Deb Haaland (D-NM) and 75 other Representatives.

Groups supporting the legislation include the National Parks Conservation Association, Conservation Lands Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Wilderness Society, League of Conservation Voters, EarthJustice, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation, Grand Canyon Trust and the Bears Ears Coalition Tribes (Hopi, Navajo, Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, and Zuni).

The full legislation is available here.