What’s being called the “No More National Parks” bill, House Republicans are expected to vote this week to effectively shut down the spread of America’s best idea.
Via Think Progress:
Responding to President Obama’s decision last week to protect a stretch of California’s Coast near Point Arena as a new national monument, the House of Representatives is planning to vote next week to overturn a 108 year-old law that presidents of both parties have used to protect iconic American places, including the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty, and Arches National Park.
The bill, H.R. 1459, aims to block presidents from using the Antiquities Act of 1906 to establish new national monuments by putting caps on how many times it can be used, requiring congressional review of proposed monuments, and forcing local communities to engage in an ironic exercise of reviewing the environmental impacts of protecting lands for future generations.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), criticized President Obama’s use of the Antiquities Act to expand the California Coastal Monument last week as an end-run around Congress. “In other words, the House was punked by the President,” said Bishop.
However, despite arguments from Bishop and Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA) that Congress should hold exclusive power to decide whether or not to protect public lands, the House has effectively shut down all legislative efforts to protect wilderness, parks and monuments since the Tea Party takeover in 2010.
The vote — set to coincide with the one year anniversary of President Obama’s establishment of monuments honoring Harriet Tubman and Colonel Charles P. Young (with the support of Republicans and Democrats in Congress) — would also stymie a growing effort to protect sites that honor women, the LBGT community, Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and other communities that are currently under-represented among national parks and monuments.