Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Bishop pitches 'common-sense approach' to reforming Antiquities Act

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, says 640 acres is the magic number within the purview of a U.S. president who wants to designate a national monument without public process, as long as it is no closer than 50 miles to existing monuments' boundaries. Bishop on Monday unveiled HR3990 and set it for a markup hearing Wednesday before the House Committee on Natural Resources, which he chairs. "We think it is a rational approach, a common-sense approach that guarantees people have a right to be heard," he said. The bill's delineation of 640 acres mirrors the intent of the Antiquities Act when it was debated before Congress in 1906, Bishop said. At the time, lawmakers haggled over limits of 320 acres, 640 acres or 800 acres. "It ought not to be" controversial, he said. "This is what Congress was thinking when it was enacted." Under the proposal, the president retains full authority under the Antiquities Act for national monument designations of 640 acres. The measure proposes additional requirements for larger designations: • 640-10,000 acres: Must be reviewed under the National Environmental Policy Act. • 5,000-10,000 acres: Must go through an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement. • 10,000-85,000 acres: Must have approval of impacted county commissioners, state legislators and governors...more

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