By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff
The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1459, the “Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation of National Monuments Act.” Introduced by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) and supported by SEMA, the bill would require a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) study for any national monument designations more than 5,000 acres.
Currently, the president of the United States has the authority to declare a parcel of public land with “historic or scientific interest” to be a national monument. Such a designation can lead to road closures for motorized recreation, among other impacts. H.R. 1459 would place limits on that authority. The president could declare a monument less than 5,000 acres, but that declaration would need congressional approval within three years. A larger parcel of land would require a NEPA environmental study along with a congressional study estimating long-term costs to manage the land. The president would also be limited to one declaration per state during any presidential term unless there was congressional approval.
SEMA has worked closely with Chairman Bishop to support this important legislation to allow for more transparency and feedback from local enthusiasts and businesses during the monument designation process. H.R. 1459 will now be considered by the United States Senate.