2000 Scorecard Vote
The Antiquities Act of 1906 grants the president authority to protect important federal lands by proclaiming them national monuments. Historically, the Act has been used when a threat to public land was imminent, when Congress remained gridlocked over a conservation measure, or when federal land held the potential for public benefit in the future. The Antiquities Act has been a critical factor in the development of America's National Park System. Without it, national treasures like Grand Canyon, Denali, Zion, Glacier Bay, Olympic and Acadia national parks might never have been protected.
In 1996, President Clinton used the Antiquities Act to create the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. This prompted congressional opponents to attack the Antiquities Act as an infringement on local control and on congressional authority. In fact, the Act only applies to lands that are already federally owned. Moreover, Congress has the power to fund or "de-designate" a national monument.
In July, Representative Don Nickles (R-OK) offered an amendment to H.R. 4578, the Fiscal Year 2001 Interior Appropriations bill, that would have prohibited funds from being used to establish or expand a national monument, unless approved by Congress. This language would have undermined the president's authority to proclaim national monuments under the Antiquities Act. On July 18, 2000, the Senate rejected the Nickles amendment by a 49–50 vote (Senate roll call vote 208). NO is the pro-environment vote. A similar effort to deny funding to new national monuments failed in the House (House vote 2). The Interior Appropriations conference report was passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President.