Leaders in the outdoors and sportsmen’s communities today joined together in criticizing House of Representatives legislation that would undermine the federal Antiquities Act, sending a unified pro-conservation message from a diverse constituency of public lands users, recreationalists, hunters and anglers.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Patagonia and First Lite CEOs together condemned a bill introduced on Friday by Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah.
The National Monument Creation and Protection Act (H.R. 3990) would severely limit national monument designations made by presidents, including stipulating that proposed monuments larger than 640 acres be subject to a federal review process and enabling presidents to reduce or alter monuments already in existence.
“Congressman Bishop’s bill should cause all Americans to sit up and take notice,” said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney. “His attack on one of America’s bedrock conservation laws is bold and real – and cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged. As chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, Congressman Bishop should be working to increase our public lands legacy – not destroy it. He has plenty to do, such as working to fully fund and permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, rather than wasting his time on unpopular, ill-fated pipe dreams.”
“This is a dangerous bill. Congressman Bishop should recognize the committee he leads is meant to protect our natural resources, not destroy them,” said Patagonia CEO and President Rose Marcario. “The Antiquities Act is foundational to our American experience of protection of public lands and waters. To blatantly seek to weaken it is a national disgrace and a sell out to future generations of outdoorsmen and woman. We implore him to move on the pending public land bills before his committee that protect recreation, hunting and fishing on public lands. It is highly ironic that the chairman is adopting a ‘Washington knows best’ approach when just this summer, over 2.5 million Americans from across the country spoke out in support of our public lands.”
Said First Lite Co CEO Kenton Carruth: “We at First Lite make our living off of hunting. What’s crucial to hunting and new hunter recruitment is access and availability of quality public lands. That’s something we need to ensure for the future of hunting and our business.”
The federal Antiquities Act has been used by 16 presidents – eight Republicans and eight Democrats – to safeguard millions of acres of exceptional public lands and waters; however, the act has recently been the subject of unprecedented assaults. An executive order signed by the president in April directed the Interior Department to study monuments covering tens of millions of acres and gauge whether their size, boundaries and scope conform to parameters outlined in the law. Millions of citizens weighed in, the vast majority supporting national monuments. Details in a leaked report suggest, however, that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will be recommending reductions in size and increased industrial development on numerous national monuments, including outstanding fish and wildlife habitat that provides some of the best hunting and fishing in the nation.
Concerned groups urge members of the House Natural Resources Committee to reject H.R. 3990 and are asking their members, customers and followers to do the same by calling the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.