The ANTIQUITIES ACT of 1906, (Pub.L. 59–209, 34 Stat. 225, 54
U.S.C. § 320301–320303), is an act passed by the United States
Congress and signed into law by
Theodore Roosevelt on June 8, 1906.
This law gives the
President of the United States the authority to, by
presidential proclamation , create national monuments from federal
lands to protect significant natural, cultural, or scientific
features. The Act has been used more than a hundred times since its
passage. Its use occasionally creates significant controversy.
* 1 History
* 2 Uses
* 3 Reduction of powers
* 4 Use in popular culture
* 5 See also
* 6 References
* 7 External links
Antiquities Act resulted from concerns about protecting mostly
prehistoric Native American ruins and artifacts – collectively
termed "antiquities " – on federal lands in the West, such as at
Chaco Canyon, New Mexico . Removal of artifacts from these lands by
private collectors – "pot hunters," in the language of the time –
had become a serious problem by the end of the 19th century. In 1902,
John F. Lacey , who chaired the House Committee on
the Public Lands, traveled to the Southwest with the rising
Edgar Lee Hewett , to see for himself the extent of the
pot hunters' impact. His findings, supported by an exhaustive report
by Hewett to Congress detailing the archaeological resources of the
region, provided the necessary impetus for the passage of the
legislation. On April 26, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an
executive order directing a review of the law and its uses.
The Act was intended to allow the President to set aside certain
valuable public natural areas as park and conservation land. The 1906
act stated that it was intended for: "... the protection of objects of
historic and scientific interest." These areas are given the title of
"National Monuments ." It also allows the President to reserve or
accept private lands for that purpose. The aim is to protect all
historic and prehistoric sites on United States federal lands and to
prohibit excavation or destruction of these antiquities. With this
act, this can be done much more quickly than going through the
Congressional process of creating a
National Park . The Act states
that areas of the monuments are to be confined to the smallest area
compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be
United States Supreme Court
United States Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld presidential
proclamations under the
Antiquities Act, ruling each time that the Act
gives the president nearly-unfettered discretion as to the nature of
the object to be protected and the size of the area reserved.
Some areas designated as National Monuments have later been converted
into National Parks, or incorporated into existing National Parks.
The first use of the Act protected a large geographic feature –
Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed
Devils Tower National Monument
on September 24, 1906. President Roosevelt also used it to create the
Grand Canyon National Monument – the first step in protecting that
place of great historic and scientific interest.
At 583,000 square miles (1,510,000 km2), Papahānaumokuākea Marine
National Monument is the largest protected area proclaimed. The
Father Millet Cross National Monument , was a mere 0.0074
acres (30 m2).
For any excavation, the Act requires that a permit (Antiquities
Permit) be obtained from the Secretary of the department which has
jurisdiction over those lands.
REDUCTION OF POWERS
Presidential powers under the Act have been reduced twice. The first
time followed the unpopular proclamation of Jackson Hole National
Monument in 1943. The 1950 law that incorporated Jackson Hole into an
enlarged Grand Teton
National Park also amended the
requiring Congressional consent for any future creation or enlargement
of National Monuments in
Wyoming . The second time followed Jimmy
Carter 's use of the Act to create fifty-six million acres (230,000
km²) of National Monuments in
Alaska . The
Alaska National Interest
Lands Conservation Act requires Congressional ratification of the use
Antiquities Act in
Alaska for withdrawals of greater than 5,000
acres (20.2 km²).
USE IN POPULAR CULTURE
Antiquities Act is referenced in
The West Wing
The West Wing season one episode
"Enemies", where President Bartlet uses it to counter an amendment
attached to a bill by Congress that would allow an area of the Montana
wilderness to be strip-mined. However, the episode erroneously states
that the President can declare a
National Park . A National Monument
would have been more accurate.
List of National Monuments of the United States
Timeline of environmental events
National Park Service
* ^ Ken Burns. The National Parks: America's Best Idea. Florentine
* ^ Merica, Dan. "Trump order could roll back public lands
protections from 3 presidents". CNN. CNN. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
* ^ Cameron v. United States, 252 U.S. 450
* ^ Cappaert v. United States, 426 U.S. 128
* ^ Papahānaumokuākea protects submerged land. The largest
surface reservation was the proclamation of Wrangell-St. Elias
National Monument , 10,950,000 acres (40,000 km2).
* ^ "Antiquites Act: Monument List".
National Park Service
Archeology Program. Archived from the original on 9 May 2009.
Retrieved May 20, 2009. .
* ^ Robert W. Righter. "National Monuments to National Parks: The
Use of the
Antiquities Act of 1906". Archived from the original on 27
May 2006. Retrieved May 16, 2006.
* ^ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "Digest of Federal Resource
Laws of Interest to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Alaska
National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980". Archived from the
original on 26 June 2006. Retrieved May 16, 2006.
* ^ "The West Wing: Enemies".
West Wing Transcripts. Retrieved 12