It would take a greater effort to create national monuments under legislation readied for House consideration. The Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation of National Monuments Act (H.R. 1459) was officially reported by the House Committee on Natural Resources and placed on the Union Calendar, so the House can vote on it any time. No vote is currently scheduled, however.
You can read the report at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/R?cp113:FLD010:@1%28hr221%29.
The committee approved the bill in July. See stories linked to below for details.
Under current law, the 1906 Antiquities Act, a president can designate national monuments. This bill would apply the National Environmental Policy Act to the law. It would restrict presidential authority by excluding private property from inclusion without consent of property owners. It would restrict presidential authority to naming sites to up to 5,000 acres and only when “genuinely threatened.” Such designations could only last three years without approval from Congress.
The bill also would restrict a president from naming more than one national monument per state in a four-year term. The bill also calls for a cost study on managing national monuments.
The report explains that the “Antiquities Act has been abused by presidents of both parties, particularly in the West where the timing and large scope of many designations have resulted in unnecessary hardship to local communities dependent upon access and use of the land and resources within the designations.”