Federal Bill to Limit Presidential Power on National Parks

Posted: March 24, 2014 in Legislative Issues
Tags: , ,

There is a bill coming up for a vote on the federal level in the House of Representatives that would restrict the executive power to establish National Parks. I’ve read the bill,(HR 1459) and it looks like a good idea to me. Considering that the Federal government is over 17 trillion dollars in debt (meaning you and I owe it) it doesn’t seem illogical that some constraints on how much is spent be applied before taking over other areas.

I spent all morning looking at articles about this bill, and the vast majority are hyper critical of it. The opinion seems to be that it is a Tea Party retaliation against Obama to put a few restraints on establishing more National Parks and Monuments. They say it will greatly encumber the process and make it very expensive  and time consuming to establish  national parks or monuments. Some say it will make it impossible to establish any more National Parks.

Just a guess here, but I bet none of the people railing against the bill live in an area largely controlled by the NPS and I deeply doubt that any one of them has ever even tried to make a living off of working the land. Maybe if they had these kinds of experiences, they would be a little more open to elected representative oversight.

One thing that I find highly likable about this bill is that it is only four pages long. You won’t need to pass it to find out what’s in it. (Sorry, Nancy Pelosi!)

Here are the main points of the bill:

1) it will require informed consent by private property owners affected

2) NEPA will be required to be followed (National Environmental Policy Act of 1969-in a nut shell, local customs and culture must be considered and agreement must be attained)

3) any designation to last longer than 3 years must be approved by Congress

4) a feasibility study must be done

I put a link to the bill on the bill number in the opening paragraph, and here is the copied text of HR1459 for you to read if you don’t want to download the bill:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr1459/text

IB

Union Calendar No. 161

113TH CONGRESS

1ST SESSION H. R. 1459

[Report No. 113–221]

To ensure that the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 applies to

the declaration of national monuments, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

APRIL 10, 2013

Mr. BISHOP of Utah (for himself, Mr. GOSAR, Mr. CHAFFETZ, Mr. WALDEN,

Mr. PEARCE, Mrs. LUMMIS, Mr. AMODEI, and Mr. STEWART) introduced

the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources

SEPTEMBER 20, 2013

Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union

and ordered to be printed.

2

  • HR 1459 RH

A BILL

To ensure that the National Environmental Policy Act of

1969 applies to the declaration of national monuments,

and for other purposes.

 

3

  • HR 1459 RH

1 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa2

tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

3 SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

4 This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Ensuring Public In5

volvement in the Creation of National Monuments Act’’.

6 SEC. 2. NEPA APPLICABILITY TO NATIONAL MONUMENT

7 DECLARATIONS.

8 Section 2 of the Act of June 8, 1906 (16 U.S.C. 431;

9 commonly known as the ‘‘Antiquities Act of 1906’’) is

10 amended—

11 (1) by striking ‘‘That the President’’ and in12

serting the following:

13 ‘‘(a) That the President’’;

14 (2) by striking ‘‘discretion, to declare’’ and in15

serting ‘‘discretion, subject to the National Environ16

mental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.),

17 to declare’’;

18 (3) by inserting before the final period the fol19

lowing ‘‘. No more than one declaration shall be

20 made in a State during any presidential four-year

21 term of office without an express Act of Congress’’;

22 and

23 (4) by adding at the end the following:

24 ‘‘(b) A declaration under this section shall—

VerDate Mar 15 2010 21:20 Sep 20, 2013 Jkt 029200 PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 E:\BILLS\H1459.RH H1459 emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with BILLS

4

  • HR 1459 RH

1 ‘‘(1) not include private property without the

2 informed written consent of the owner of the private

3 property affected by the declaration;

4 ‘‘(2) be considered a major Federal action

5 under the National Environmental Policy Act of

6 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), if it affects more

7 than 5,000 acres;

8 ‘‘(3) be categorically excluded under the Na9

tional Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C.

10 4321 et seq.) and expire three years after the date

11 of the declaration (unless specifically designated as

12 a monument by Federal law), if it affects 5,000

13 acres or less; and

14 ‘‘(4) be followed by a feasibility study that in15

cludes an estimate of the costs associated with man16

aging the monument in perpetuity, including any

17 loss of Federal and State revenue, which shall be

18 submitted to the Committee on Natural Resources of

19 the House of Representatives and the Committee on

20 Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate and

21 made available on the website of the Department of

22 the Interior not later than one year after the date

23 of the declaration.’’.

Union Calendar No. 161

113TH CONGRESS

1ST SESSION H. R. 1459

[Report No. 113–221]

A BILL

To ensure that the National Environmental Policy

Act of 1969 applies to the declaration of national

monuments, and for other purposes.

 

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