For more than 100 years, Republican and Democratic presidents alike have used their authority under the Antiquities Act to preserve the greatest of America’s iconic lands and sites. Established by that superb conservationist, Republican President Teddy Roosevelt, the act has helped preserve such essential parts of the United States as the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty — and more recently in Northern New Mexico, the Río Grande del Norte Monument.
It is ironic, then, that as New Mexico celebrates the one-year anniversary of the Río Grande del Norte Monument’s establishment, some in Congress want to strip away the power of presidents to preserve. That bill, HR 1459, narrowly passed the House of Representatives on Wednesday. With Democrats in power in the Senate, it will go nowhere — but it’s smart to pay attention.
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