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Press Release

Westerman Blasts Biden's Antiquities Act Abuses and Blatant Disregard for Local Communities

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Today, President Joe Biden formally announced the expansion of two new national monuments, adding nearly 120,000 acres to the millions of acres of federal land already locked up by abuses of the Antiquities Act of 1906. House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) issued the following statement in response:

"President Biden is no stranger to bureaucratic overreaches and ignoring the will of the people. Each time his administration makes an announcement to lock up more of our federal lands it comes without local input or support. The communities affected by today's announcement were kept squarely in the dark. President Biden’s Antiquities Act abuses and radical 30x30 agenda must come to an end so management decisions can return to the people who know the lands best."


Today the Biden administration formalized the expansion of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. Biden has unilaterally designated more than 3.6 million acres as national monuments since taking office, furthering abuses of the Antiquities Act of 1906 and ignoring local communities and stakeholders. This is the equivalent of designating an area more than twice the size of Biden’s home state of Delaware since he took office. 

Biden has used sweeping executive authority to unilaterally make these designations without any requirement for local input or community support. In fact, since the Antiquities Act of 1906 was signed into law, Congress and the executive branch have enacted more than a dozen new statutes and regulations to protect archeological resources and other resource characteristics, thus rendering designations by executive fiat under the Antiquities Act largely obsolete and unnecessary. 

These land lockups threaten the western way of life and have repeatedly been made without the input or consent of the local communities that are most affected. Biden's sweeping proclamations often restrict access to important natural resources and minerals that are essential to America's economy and national security.  

Westerman has long been critical of Biden's overreaches carried out under the Antiquities Act, and authored a letter last year with Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) demanding answers for previous land lockups. To learn more about the Antiquities Act, click here.