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Letter: Why the Antiquities Act needs to go

Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor
Deseret News

In his Dec. 28 op-ed, Stephen Trimble uses conservative support of Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, a 176,000-acre monument in Colorado, as a reason why the Antiquities Act should be left unchanged ("Leave the powers of the Antiquities Act in place").

A closer look may tell us exactly why reform is needed. Had Presidents Clinton and Obama created similar-sized monuments in Utah instead of the mammoth monuments they created, encompassing roughly 20 times the land, it is very likely that most Utah residents, including those in local communities most directly affected, would have supported their creation.

The Antiquities Act itself has become an ancient relic, reflecting a time when environmental protection was basically unheard of and development of Western lands was largely unregulated. Neither of those situations remains, and as a nation we do not have an endless supply of priceless and pristine lands for presidents to set aside in order to leave their "legacy" or to reward political supporters.

Drew Allen