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A look at the bill to slow national monument designations

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The Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation of National Monuments Act (H.R. 1459) passed by the House last week has raised the concern that it could slow and decrease protection of valuable lands. Let's take a look at some provisions in the bill.

First, let's note that now that the House passed it, it was referred to the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources.

In a nutshell, the act would prohibit the president from naming more than one national monument in any state during a four-year term without consent of Congress.

The bill would also require an environmental review of any designation of more than 5,000 acres. Designations would last only three years unless approved by Congress. Every time the president names a national monument, a feasibility study of the costs of managing it would be required.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates it would cost about $2 million over five years to operate the legislation.

The House did approve an amendment that would allow the president to designate a national monument of 5,000 acres or less without following the procedures first if “if imminent threat to antiquity and permanent designation” would happen if he didn't. The procedures would follow.

The House also approved an amendment that would require feasibility studies “to include an assessment of the monument declaration's benefits, including jobs and tourism dollars associated with managing a monument in perpetuity.”

Check out details on the legislation at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/D?d113:1:./temp/~bdajbl:@@@D&summ2=m&|/home/LegislativeData.php|.

Read the amendments at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d113:HR01459:@@@S.

See the stories linked to below for the legislative history.

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