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Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation of National Monuments Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

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Mrs. LUMMIS. Mr. Chairman, the State of Wyoming is exempt from the Antiquities Act. I don't know if you knew there is any State that is exempt from the Antiquities Act.

In 1950, when Grand Teton National Park and the Jackson Hole National Monument were combined, lawmakers and President Truman exempted Wyoming from further congressional designations. Now 48 percent of Wyoming is Federal land. We have the first national park, the first national forest, and the first national monument. We have nine total national forests and one national grassland within our State borders. Yet, without having to comply with the Antiquities Act, we created the national migratory bird refuge in Wyoming, which is a massive area that happened with local input.

You don't need the Antiquities Act as it exists to continue to create Federal designations. They can be done with local and State input, which is exactly what this bill will allow. If there are additional unique and special designations necessary, they should go through the congressional process and not be usurped by unilateral Presidential powers.

This is 2014. We are not back in the era when Presidents needed to designate areas that were at risk of being degraded. The ethic of a nation for conservation has come far beyond that. Let's adapt our laws to the morality and the ethics of the times. Let's pass this bill and give people involvement in decisions that are made in their States.

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