(Jamie) Welcome to Farm Factor! Let’s join Kyle and Ethan Lane for a look at the Antiquities Act, a 1906 law, and how it’s being applied today.
(Kyle) Hi this is Kyle Bauer with Ethan Lane with National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. We’re going to be talking about public lands but a portion of public lands that a lot of us are not aware of. Ethan, The Antiquities Act? (Ethan) Yes, The Antiquities act is a 1906 law that enables the President to designate property in the west, public land essentially as in need of protection. And he’s able to do that over large territories, sometimes as much as two million acres which is what we’re seeing proposed towards the end of this administration. The problem with that is the intent of the Act was never to designate areas that large, the intent was to protect small areas. Actually the original legislation states that the areas should be no larger than is necessary to protect the objects in question. We’ve moved away from that and we’re now into territory where we’re protecting very large landscapes at one time. (Kyle) And when we look at large National Parks, were those acquired by that Act? Or was that an act of Congress? (Ethan) You have some that were put together through use of The Antiquities Act. That’s not what we’re seeing now. What we’re seeing now is the creation of large buffer zones around existing parks. We’re seeing designations being put on to areas that otherwise would maybe not survive an environmental review process. And that’s part of the problem is that these designations don’t go through the normal environmental review and economic impact reviews that other designations and other monument status connotations would go through. They’re simply a stroke of the pen by the President. (Kyle) So, there’s no process, there’s no review and a President can decide? Now could this be private land that was put under that or only public lands? (Ethan) Only public land, but if you understand the landscape in the west, you really can’t do large designations on public land like that without impacting the surrounding private land. So, even though the private land is technically not impacted, it has a massive chilling effect on the area when something like this happens. (Kyle) So, what you’re working to do then is to change the legislation? (Ethan) We’d like to see the use of the Act get back to what was originally intended. We’d like to see smaller designations only when necessary and only to protect objects that need to be protected. Landscapes, large landscapes are not what this law was intended for. If the Administration feels that two and a half million acres in Oregon needs to be protected, they should go through a review process and determine the appropriate way to do that. (Kyle) And once an area is designated, through The Antiquities Act, what is legal to be done on that land after that point? (Ethan) That’s where it gets a little bit into grey area. A lot of the supporters of these designations will tell you that the multiple uses that are supposed to occur on those lands will be able to continue, but what we know is that every time the status of a resource like this is elevated, the multiple uses on that landscape are usually negatively impacted. And that’s what we’re afraid will happen on these future designations. (Kyle) This is Kyle Bauer at the Cattlemen’s Meeting in San Diego. Back to you Jamie.
(Jamie) Folks, stay with us – Kyle will be back with Dr. Rob Fraley, Executive Vice-President and Chief Technology Officer for Monsanto.