Stop Presidential Abuse of Antiquities Act and Proposed Siskiyou Crest Monument
- US Congress, Executive Branch, State Politicians, Media
- United States of America
This is a petition calling for the repeal or drastic modification of the Antiquities Act of 1906 and a halt to the proposed Siskiyou Crest National Monument. The Antiquities Act is used by US Presidents to declare national monuments. More often than not, this action is taken during the last day or two of a sitting President's term of office.
When the Antiquities Act was first debated, one of the issues concerned how much land could be set aside for a monument and the debate focused on 320 or 640 acres, not the hundreds of thousands of acres we regularly see Presidents target today. The Antiquities Act has enabled excessive concentration of power in the office of the President.
The US Congress has always been responsible for the declaration of Wilderness Areas and National Parks and they should be responsible for National Monuments as well, affording the opportunity for a more democratic process of establishing monuments.
This petition is co-sponsored by Stop Siskiyou Land Grab (www.StopLandGrab.Org) and Klamath Alliance for Resources & Environment (KARE) (www.KlamathAlliance.Org)
The establishment of national monuments, wilderness areas or other significant changes to Federal public lands must be enacted by the US Congress, and with full and ample opportunity to consider all constituency perspectives. When the Antiquities Act was first debated, one of the issues concerned how much land could be set aside for a monument and the debate focused on 320 or 640 acres, not the hundreds of thousands of acres we regularly see Presidents target today. We support legislation intended to restrict the President’s use of the Antiquities Act and to ensure a more democratic process.
The Obama Administration is considering the establishment of 13 new national monuments. Many of these would include Federal land boundaries that surround thousands of private properties. For example, the proposed Siskiyou Crest National Monument would incorporate approximately 600,000 acres and over 1,400 private properties in Northern California and Southern Oregon.
Recent history offers examples of national monument declarations that proved harmful to private property values, while reducing usage and access rights to public lands. Environmental organizations champion national monuments. Ironically, the establishment of national monuments without a careful and deliberative process can result in outcomes contrary to sound environmental stewardship. The Sequoia National Monument offers a clear example. It was established by Presidential proclamation on April 15, 2000 as an extension of the Sequoia National Park and after ten years, a management plan has yet to be developed. As court battles rage, the forest is not being managed to prevent catastrophic large-scale fires nor optimum health.
Supporters often argue national monuments increase property values and lead to stronger adjacent community economies. On the contrary, regions must be judged on a case-by-case basis. The Siskiyou Crest offers a perfect example where the tourist economy argument fails. The region does have an existing small and vibrant tourist economy, primarily based in Southern Oregon, with wineries, arts in Ashland, and the historic town of Jacksonville serving as anchor attractions.
Nevertheless, establishment of a national monument in the Siskiyou Crest will not increase tourism because current out-of-town tourist traffic heading specifically for hiking and camping in the Siskiyou Crest is modest in size. The Siskiyou Crest has been reasonably well managed by the US Forest Service and BLM for decades. Declaring a monument isn’t going to make the region more beautiful, better managed or increase tourist traffic. Most of the tourist dollars that flow to the region have little to do with activity related to the Siskiyou Crest. Monument status will not change this fact.
The undersigned oppose executive-order style use of the Antiquities Act. Regions like the Siskiyou Crest should not be locked-up by Presidential fiat.