LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Abuse of The Antiquities Act of 1906

I applaud President Trump’s executive order of the review of the relatively recent designations by former presidents under the Antiquities Act of 1906.  

The Antiquities Act, signed into law, by President Roosevelt was designed to preserve our antiquities for educational, scientific and historical purposes. The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, The Archaeologist Resource Protection Act of 1979 and the National American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 provide additional and specific guide-lines for protection of ancient historical and burial locations. These regulations are in effect without a monument designation.

President Roosevelt was very well acquainted with the western United States. I believe if he had thought areas, such as the Missouri Breaks, were classified as an antiquity he would have nominated it himself.

Secretary Zinke has put his boots to the ground to get the facts of what a monument designation has done to private property rights and local economies including evaluating whether the federal government (the American taxpayer) has the resources to properly care for them.  

A monument designation, public or private, does not ensure recreational or hunting access. I believe monument designation possibly could threaten these very same activities that Americans enjoy. 

More recent presidents should be ashamed of making these secretive designations near the end of their presidential terms.

Most private property owners in Montana do not believe in, and cannot afford, expanding government jobs that regulate private land under the guise of protecting federal land. I believe the federal government (American taxpayer) does not, and should not, have the man power and finances to promote obstructionist regulations of private and federal land. Federal land is best used as multi-purpose for industry, agriculture, subsistence and recreation.

Ronda Johnston, Melville



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