2000 Scorecard Vote
The Antiquities Act of 1906 grants U.S. presidents the authority to protect important federal lands by proclaiming them national monuments. Historically, the Antiquities Act has been used when a threat to a culturally or environmentally important parcel of public land was imminent, when Congress was gridlocked over a proposal to conserve a particular piece of public land, 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 parks like Grand Canyon, Denali, Zion, Glacier Bay, Olympic and Acadia 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.
A provision attached to H.R. 4578, the 2001 Interior appropriations bill, would have prohibited the use of funds for the design, planning, or management of national monuments created since 1999. The provision would have prevented the Department of Interior from managing current monuments, as well as thwarting the president's authority under the Antiquities Act to proclaim new monuments.
Representative Norm Dicks (D-WA) offered an amendment to strike the prohibition on national monument funding from the bill. In response, Representative Jim Hansen (R-UT) offered a substitute amendment to keep the national monuments language in the bill. On June 15, 2000, the House rejected the Hansen amendment by a 187–234 vote (House roll call vote 280). NO is the pro-environment vote. The Dicks amendment went on to pass by a vote of 243–177. An amendment to restrict funding for new national monuments also failed to pass the Senate (Senate vote 2). The Fiscal Year 2001 Interior appropriations conference report passed both the House and Senate in October and was signed by the President.