(NN&V Staff) – U.S. Congressman Dean Heller (R-NV) and Congressman Raúl R. Labrador (R-ID) offered an amendment to the Full Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011 (H.R. 1) to prevent the Obama administration from misusing the century-old Antiquities Act to designate lands as federally protected National Monuments without the benefit of public inquiry or congressional oversight.
The amendment failed by a vote of 209 – 213. The text of Heller’s floor statement as prepared is below.
Mr. Chairman, I rise today to offer an amendment with my friend, Mr. Labrador, to prohibit funds from being used to designate National Monuments under the Antiquities Act.
Roughly 85% of Nevada is federally controlled, so I am sensitive to any actions that could close access to public lands.
New national monuments could limit access, threaten grazing rights, and end mineral exploration and mining, and even impact private property. And this is the last thing we need in this dire economy.
A transparent public process that includes input from local officials, communities, and stakeholders for any new federal land designation is in the best interest of the residents of our public lands communities.
That is why I support efforts to require any Antiquities Act actions to have Congressional approval.
Government that works in the best interest of the people insures that all stakeholders have a seat at the table.
Examples, such as the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, which in the waning days of the Clinton Administration literally obliterated massive economic development with the stroke of a pen, are why I am standing here today.
I don’t want that to happen in Nevada, or anywhere else.
I urge my colleagues to join us to protect communities from the heavy hand of the federal government and support our amendment.