House Natural Resources Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01) will discuss the Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation (EPIC) of National Monuments Act [H.R. 1459] during a legislative hearing tomorrow. The EPIC Act was introduced by Congressman Rob Bishop (UT-01) to improve public participation in the establishment of National Monuments through the application of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
"Ensuring that the public has an opportunity to actively participate in the public lands designation process is the right thing to do. The Antiquities Act is a century-old law that gives any President the authority to simply designate new national monuments without public input. The law was originally intended to protect sites with historic significance, but is now being abused by some Presidents as a way to limit activities on public lands. The American people ought to have an opportunity to engage in the process. This legislation ensures that future designations are the result of collaboration at all levels rather than deals made within the executive branch alone," said Bishop.
Specifically, the legislation:
- Classifies national monument declarations under the Antiquities Act as a major federal action, which would require the application of NEPA
- Allows for a temporary three-year, 5,000 acres or less "emergency" designation if there is an imminent threat to an American antiquity
- Limits national monument declarations to no more than one per state during any four-year presidential term in office, unless otherwise approved by Congress
- Prevents the inclusion of private property in monument declarations without the prior approval of property owners
- Requires within one year of a declaration, a feasibility study and an estimated cost to taxpayers associated with managing the monument in perpetuity, including any loss of federal and state revenue