March 20, 2024

Representative Bruce Westerman, Chairman
Representative Raúl Grijalva, Ranking Member
House Committee on Natural Resources
1324 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Re: H.R. 5499, Congressional Oversight of the Antiquities Act

Dear Chairman Westerman and Ranking Member Grijalva,

On behalf of the undersigned organizations and our millions of members across the country, we are writing to express our unwavering support for the Antiquities Act of 1906 and our strong opposition to H.R. 5499, the “Congressional Oversight of the Antiquities Act,” which poses a significant threat to this bedrock conservation law.

Since its enactment, the Antiquities Act has been one of our nation’s most critical conservation tools for preserving public lands, waters and cultural sites. Our national parks and monuments and other protected public lands and waters unite all people in this country by protecting our shared heritage for future generations to enjoy. Since it was signed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, the Antiquities Act has been used on a bipartisan basis by 18 Presidents (nine Republicans and nine Democrats) to protect America’s most iconic natural, scientific, cultural, and historic places, including the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty, Fort Monroe, the Pacific Remote Islands, and Acadia, Zion and Olympic National Parks.

Furthermore, national monuments poll very well with voters across party lines. Per the Colorado College’s 2024 Conservation in the West Poll, 85% of westerners support creating new national parks and monuments to protect historic sites and areas for recreation. The sheer diversity of historic, cultural, and natural treasures that have been protected by the Antiquities Act is the reason why hundreds of groups representing sportsmen, cultural heritage organizations, evangelicals, conservation, recreation businesses, historic preservation, and many others all oppose efforts to undermine this vital law.

H.R. 5499 represents a direct assault on the Antiquities Act. The legislation would forcibly sunset national monument designations while limiting future designations, which blatantly undercuts the original intent of the Antiquities Act to protect places at urgent risk. It would also undermine the meaningful Tribal engagement at the center of many modern designation efforts, disregarding the sovereignty and expertise of indigenous communities whose cultural heritage and ancestral lands are often central to monument designations. Finally, Congress already has the power to pass legislation creating, revoking or modifying national monuments on a case-by-case basis.

As organizations committed to conservation, environmental stewardship, and the preservation of our nation’s heritage, we urge you to oppose H.R. 5499 and to uphold the Antiquities Act as a critical tool for protecting America’s natural and cultural treasures.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. We trust that you will consider the long-term implications of H.R. 5499 and stand in defense of the Antiquities Act.

Sincerely,

Accountable.US
Alaska Wilderness League
Azul
Californians for Western Wilderness
CalWild
Center for Biological Diversity
Coalition to Protect America's National Parks
Colorado Wildlands Project
Conservation Colorado
Conservation Lands Foundation
Conservation Northwest
Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship
Continental Divide Trail Coalition
Defenders of Wildlife
Earthjustice
EarthKeepers 360
Earthworks
Endangered Species Coalition
Environment America
Environmental Protection Information Center- EPIC
Friends of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks
Friends of the Earth US
Grand Canyon Trust
Great Old Broads for Wilderness
GreenLatinos
Healthy Ocean Coalition
Hispanic Access Foundation
HECHO
Institute for a Progressive Nevada
John Muir Project
Klamath Forest Alliance
Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce
League of Conservation Voters
Los Padres ForestWatch
Marine Conservation Institute
Mountain Mamas
Mystic Aquarium
National Marine Sanctuary Foundation
National Ocean Protection Coalition
National Parks Conservation Association
National Trust for Historic Preservation
National Wildlife Federation
Native Voters Alliance Nevada
Natural Resources Defense Council
Nevada Wildlife Federation
New Mexico Wild
Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness
Nuestra Tierra
Ocean Defense Initiative
Oregon League of Conservation Voters
Oregon Natural Desert Association
Plaquemines Rising Coastal Restoration
Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada
Protect Our Winters
Sierra Club
Silvix Resources
Soda Mountain Wilderness Council
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
The Mountain Pact
The Wilderness Society
Trust for Public Land
Tuleyome
Union of Concerned Scientists
Vet Voice Foundation
Western Watersheds Project
WildEarth Guardians