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Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation of National Monuments Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PAYNE. Mr. Chairman, I thank my colleague for allowing me the opportunity to speak.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to H.R. 1459 because it could have severe unintended consequences for the 10th Congressional District of New Jersey, which I represent.

This is yet once again an attack on the President's authority, but in this case, H.R. 1459 would create unnecessary obstacles regarding the President's ability to conserve lands and protect our country's most notable destinations.

The Antiquities Act has been used to protect a site in my district that commemorates the outstanding achievements of a great American inventor, Thomas Edison. This great innovator produced many of the inventions loved across the world--silent and sound motion pictures, the motion picture camera, phonographs, and the electric storage battery.

For more than 40 years, Thomas Edison's laboratory complex located in West Orange, New Jersey, was cranking out innovation after innovation. The laboratory employed at one time over 100 people, working on various projects from chemistry to physics to metallurgy.

In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower used his authority under the Antiquities Act to establish the Edison Laboratory as a national monument. One year prior, in 1955, Congress had established Thomas Edison's home as a national historic site. Six years later, the Edison National Historic Site legislation combined the two into a unit of the National Park System.

Recently, the laboratory complex underwent an extensive renovation and had a grand reopening in 2009 to welcome America to explore two new floors of the laboratory that were previously closed to the public. The museum collections at Thomas Edison National Historical Park are by far the largest single body of Edison-related material in existence, and it is the third largest museum collection in the National Park Service.

The CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.

Mr. GRIJALVA. I yield an additional 30 seconds to the gentleman.

Mr. PAYNE. I don't believe Thomas Edison would appreciate this partisan bill which could turn out the lights on our future national monuments that honor innovators such as him.

I ask my colleagues to vote ``no'' on H.R. 1459.


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