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Antiquities Act: Legal Implications for Executive and Congressional Action

March 2018

Citation: 48 ELR 10187

Issue: 3

Author: James McElfish, Brenda Mallory, Mark Squillace, and Jonathan Wood

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke's review of 27 national monuments has focused new attention on the Antiquities Act of 1906. Two recent proclamations by President Trump reducing existing Utah monuments, and the potential for further actions by the president and Congress, may substantially affect the future shape and effect of this important law. On December 7, 2017, ELI held a seminar to explore presidential and congressional authority in declaring and modifying national monuments. Panelists discussed the Act's legal history, the importance of existing national monuments, the role of Congress in managing these lands, and what might be expected from pending court challenges. Here, we present a transcript of the discussion, which has been edited for style, clarity, and space considerations.

James McElfish (moderator) is a Senior Attorney at the Environmental Law Institute. Brenda Mallory was General Counsel for the Council on Environmental Quality during the Obama Administration. Mark Squillace is a Professor of Natural Resources Law at the University of Colorado Law School. Jonathan Wood is an Attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation and an Adjunct Fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center.

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