WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after participating in a hearing with the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on the Interior where he questioned Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Neil Kornze about the coordination between the White House and the BLM to lock up more public lands in Western states using the Antiquities Act:
Today, Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after participating in a hearing with the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on the Interior where he questioned Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Neil Kornze about the coordination between the White House and the BLM to lock up more public lands in Western states using the Antiquities Act:
“Despite Director Kornze’s misleading attempts to answer simple questions, he confirmed a truth many of us have long suspected: the White House has quietly coordinated with federal land management agencies to go around Congress and further the Obama Administration’s far-left political agenda. Their tool of choice to lock up millions of acres of land in Western states is the Antiquities Act, which has been abused under this administration more than any prior administration.
“Under the guise of creating national monuments, the Obama administration is sabotaging important energy development, grazing rights, water rights and other recreational activities with the stroke of a pen, regardless of local input from communities affected by these designations. Furthermore, any attempt to seek answers or transparency from agencies like the BLM has been met with misdirection and evasion. I refuse to allow this abuse to continue and demand answers on behalf of the millions of Americans harmed by these double-dealing land grabs.”
During his time in office, President Obama has abused the Antiquities Act to designate or expand 22 national monuments and lock up more than three million acres of land. The president recently designated three new national monuments in the California desert encompassing nearly 1.8 million acres.
Unilateral designations that circumvent Congress under the Antiquities Act typically result in devastating consequences for local communities that negatively affect their future economic prosperity. These declarations often result in some of the most restrictive land-use regulations possible and also greatly impact hunting, fishing, OHV and other recreational activities.
In November of 2015, Congressman Gosar introduced legislation, H.R. 3946, the Protecting Local Communities from Executive Overreach Act, which updates the 1906 Antiquities Act in order to protect property rights, water rights and jobs from presidential abuse of the Antiquities Act. More information HERE.
H.R. 3946 is supported by all five Arizona Republicans and blocks two misguided monument efforts in the Grand Canyon Watershed and the Sedona Verde Valley, both of which have significant local opposition. The bill accomplishes this task by explicitly prohibiting declarations in Coconino, Mohave and Yavapai counties by executive fiat.
On December 3, 2015, Congressman Gosar and eight members of Congress sent a FOIA request to the Department of Interior seeking information in relation to all federal land units under the agency’s jurisdiction that have been considered, analyzed and designated as national monuments, since January 20, 2009. To date, the agency has failed to comply with this request. Click HERE to read more.
On March 22, 2016, Congressman Gosar spearheaded an appropriations rider language request to the House Appropriations Committee asking for the inclusion of language that would prevent presidential abuse of the Antiquities Act. 31 members of the House signed and submitted this request. Click HERE to read more.