Stop Our National Landmarks From Being Sold Off

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17.40% Complete

Sponsor: The Rainforest Site

The Antiquities Act determines how our national landmarks are protected, and it's been drastically weakened.


The Antiquities Act allows for presidents to create National Monuments out of federal land, which protects the wildlife within the land and preserves any scientific or historical importance.

The act was invoked to create Grand Staircase-Escalante, which covers 1.88 million acres, in 1996, followed by the 1.35-million-acre Bears Ears National Monument 20 years later1.

Bears Ears, a large region of public land in Southeast Utah, carries great cultural and religious significance for Indigenous peoples, as well as natural beauty and archaeological richness unlike anywhere else in the United States. It is rich not just in archaeology but archaeological history belonging to multiple cultures of "ancient people2."

At Grand Staircase, researchers have discovered new dinosaur species and other significant fossils3.

An executive order in 2017 forced the Department of the Interior to review the National Monuments created through the Antiquities Act, making it possible to rescind designations entirely. This order shrunk Bears Ears to about 15% of its original size and cut Grand Staircase by roughly half, opening up the excised lands to use by energy developers and ranchers4.

President Joe Biden has promised to "take immediate steps to reverse the Trump Administration's assaults on America's natural treasures," including Bears Ears and Grand-Staircase Escalante5.

For communities near the national landmarks affected, restoration of the Antiquities Act is a top priority.

The San Juan County Commission has already passed a resolution calling on Biden to restore the original boundaries of Bears Ears. The commission voted 2-1 on the resolution that said the 2017 order was illegal and asked Biden to make it a priority in his administration to restore the monument to its original size6.

America's National Parks and National Monuments provide our native wildlife with refuge, protect ocean treasures by preserving unique and critical habitats that are home to countless corals, fish and other marine life, and provide thousands of jobs for Americans7. We cannot afford to lose these resources for short term political gain.

H.R.1050 and S.367, or America's Natural Treasures of Immeasurable Quality Unite, Inspire, and Together Improve the Economies of States Act, would restore the Antiquities Act and the original boundaries of our national monuments8. Sign the petition below and demand that Congress vote this bill into law.

  1. Hannah Nordhaus, National Geographic (14 January 2021), "Biden expected to reverse Trump's order to shrink Utah national monuments."
  2. David Gessner, The Washington Post (29 December 2020), "The move Biden can make to reverse centuries of exploitation of Native Americans."
  3. National Parks Conservation Association (2021), "Restore Protections for Our National Monuments."
  4. Colin Dwyer, NPR (6 February 2020), "Trump Administration Finalizes Plans To Allow Development On Downsized Monuments."
  5. Biden Harris Campaign (2020), "Biden-Harris Plan For Tribal Nations."
  6. Associated Press (3 December 2020), "Utah county seeks to restore size of national monument."
  7. Healthy Oceans Coalition (2021), "Marine National Monuments."
  8. 116th Congress (7 February 2019), "H.R.1050 - ANTIQUITIES Act."
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The Petition:

Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands,

The executive order that eviscerated the Antiquities Act and forced our national monuments under review by the Department of the Interior not only disregards the will of the public, but it could irreversibly harm nationally significant lands like Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante.

Bears Ears carries great cultural and religious significance for Indigenous peoples in southern Utah, as well as natural beauty and archaeological richness unlike anywhere else in the United States.

At Grand Staircase, researchers have discovered new dinosaur species and other significant fossils.

America's National Parks and National Monuments provide our native wildlife with refuge, protect ocean treasures by preserving unique and critical habitats that are home to countless corals, fish and other marine life, and provide thousands of jobs for Americans. These resources are too valuable to sell off for short term political gain.

I am joining native communities and millions of other Americans in taking a stand for our National Monuments. I demand you bring the America's Natural Treasures of Immeasurable Quality Unite, Inspire, and Together Improve the Economies of States Act to a vote in Congress today.

Sincerely,

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Signatures: