United States GAO General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division B-283022 July 9,1999 - The Honorable Frank H. Murkowski Chairman, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources United States Senate The Honorable Larry E. Craig Chairman, Subcommittee on Forests and Public Land Management United States Senate Subiect: Federal Land Management: Information on Usage of the Antiauities Act The Antiquities Act of 1906 authorizes the President of the United States to establish, by public proclamation, national monuments on federal land. Under the act, the President can protect objects of historic or scientific interest, such as archaeological sites. You asked us to review how the act has been used since its passage. On June 16,1999, we provided your staff with (1) information on the monuments that have been established under the act and (2) a comparison of the requirements, if any, for environmental documentation and public participation, and of the processes, if any, for facilitating congressional oversight found in the act and in three other pieces of legislation-the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), the Federal hand Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA), and the National Forest Management Act of 1976 (NFMA). These three laws concern executive agency actions; each provides a framework for executive agencies to plan for and examine their actions affecting federal lands. To gather this information, we reviewed relevant laws and appropriate regulations. For our analysis, we defined the terms “environmental documentation” and “public participation” to include the following specific requirements: “Environmental documentation” requires that agencies analyze and report to the public on the anticipated environmental effects of proposed changes in their management of federal lands. “Public participation” requires that agencies provide opportunities for the general public to know about and express opinions on proposed actions, whether through public hearings or through comments on draft environmental analyses or other documents. In addition, “facilitating congressional oversight,” as we interpreted the phrase, means presenting and making enough public information available for the Congress to provide effective oversight of proposed or planned actions affecting the management of federal lands. GAOIRCED-99-244R Usage of the Antiquities Act B-283022 National Monuments Established bv Presidential Proclamation Under the Antiauities &t Since 1906,105 national monuments have been established by presidential proclamation. When established, these monuments comprised almost 63 million acres.’ Of the 105 monuments, 89 were established before NEPA was passed in 1969 and covered almost 7 million acres. In December 1978,15 additional national monuments, . covering over 54 million acres, were established in Alaska. The next, and most recent, use of the Antiquities Act occurred in September 1996, when almost 2 million acres in southern Utah were designated as the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Figures summarizing the number and acreage of the monuments established (1) before and after NEPA was passed and (2) by decade appear in enclosure I. All of the monuments and their acreage when established are listed in enclosure II. Comoarison of Reauirements Under the Antiauities Act and Three Other Laws The Antiquities Act’ confers presidential authority; it contains no requirements for environmental documentation or public participation and includes no processes for facilitating congressional oversight. However, the act does not preclude the President from requiring that environmental effects be documented or from soliciting public participation or congressional involvement. NEPA3 whose purpose is, in part, to prevent or eliminate damage to the environment, requires federal agencies to prepare statements for “major federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.” Under the act, these environmental impact statements must include detailed information on the environmental effects of the proposed action, alternatives to the proposed action, the relationship between long- term and short-term uses, and any irreversible commitments of resources the proposed action would involve. By regulation, agencies are required to solicit the opinions of the general public through hearings or public comment on draft environmental impact statements. Although the act does not require agencies to report directly to the Congress on proposed or actual major federal actions, it does facilitate congressional oversight by requiring public disclosure of agencies’ analyses of proposed major federal actions. It also requires the President to report annually to the Congress on the condition of the environment and on trends in the quality, management, and use of the nation’s natural resources. FXl?MA,4which established planning guidelines for public lands managed by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, requires that the Secretary of the Interior develop plans for the lands use and management. F’LPMA further requires ‘After many of these monuments were established, their boundaries were changed by legislation or presidential proclamation. In many cases, monuments were incorporated into other national park units or redesignated (for example, as national parks, historic sites, or preserves). ‘16 U.S.C. 431. ‘42 U.S.C. 4321 w ‘43 U.S.C. 1701w 2 GAO/RCED-99-244R Usage of the Antiquities Act B-283022 that the Secretary, in preparing these plans, give priority to protecting areas of critical environmental concern, taking into account present and potential uses of the land and weighing long-term and short-term benefits. Under the Bureau’s regulations, a plan is to be a written document, and its approval is considered a major federal action requiring environmental impact statements for the proposed plan and for alternatives to it. Like NEPA, F’LPMA prescribes a public forum for decision-making that facilitates congressional oversight. FLPMA requires that the Secretary give the public the opportunity to participate in planning and decision-making through such vehicles as public meetings or hearings or advisory groups. In addition, the Secretary is required to report to the Congress on certain decisions to restrict uses (such as the development of mineral resources) on public lands. Furthermore, FLPMA restricts the Secretary’s authority to make certain land management decisions without public hearings and congressional involvement. NFMA,5 which established a land-use planning process for the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, specifically requires that the Secretary of Agriculture prepare plans for managing the national forests in accordance with the requirements of NEPA. NFMA directed the Secretary to issue regulations specifying when and for what plans an environmental impact statement shall be prepared. It also requires that the Secretary hold public meetings and invite public comment on proposed forest plans, a public process that facilitates congressional oversight6 A table showing the presence or absence of these requirements and processes in each of the acts is provided in enclosure III. Scooe and Methodologv To document the number of national monuments and their acreage when established, we obtained and analyzed information listed in the United States Code Annotated, information from the Department of the Interior and from the National Park Service’s historian, and information from other published sources, including the presidential proclamations establishing the monuments. In addition, we reviewed the Antiquities Act, NEPA, FLPMA, and NFMA and their applicable regulations to identify any requirements for environmental documentation and public participation and any processes for facilitating congressional oversight. Finally, we discussed the information contained in our report with the National Park Service’s historian. We conducted our review from May 1998 through June 1998 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. %FMA (PL 94-588) amended the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1601~ &. ‘In addition, the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974requires the Forest Service to prepare and submit to the Congress public documents that assessthe status of the nation’s resources and the agency’s policies. 3 GAOIRCED-99-244R Usage of the Antiquities Act B-283022 Unless you publicly announce its contents earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report until 30 days after the date of this letter. At that time, we will make copies of the report available to Bruce Babbitt, Secretary of the Interior. We will also make copies available to others on request. If you or your staff have any questions, please call me at (202) 512-3841. Key contributors to this report were Jennifer L. Duncan, Alan R. Kasdan, and Sue Ellen Naiberk. - Ass&ziate Director, Energy, Resources, and Science Issues 4 GAOLRCED-99-244R Usage of the Antiquities Act Enclosure I G-0 National Monuments Established by Presidential Proclamation, Before and After NEPA - 100 90 80 ‘89 y 70 g 60 50 z 0 40 I 30 20 76. 10 6 I, 0 I 1906-69 1970-present 5 GAO/RCED-99-244R Usage of the Antiquities Act Enclosure I G-0 Acreage of National Monuments Established by Presidential Proclamation, Before and After NEPA 60 tn s 60 .I0 = .I E 40 .IE L 30 5 a 20 ;‘ .. : 10 .: 6.9 L I 1906-69 1970-present 6 GAOLRCED-99-24+&RUsage of the Antiquities Act -a Monuments Enclosure II GAO Acreage of National Monuments Established by Presidential Proclamation, by Decade 54.0 Alaska monuments 53.5 E 0 .- 3.0 “E 2.5 s .I 2.0 gt 15 a 1:o 0.5 0.0 8 GAO/RCED-99-244R Usage of the Antiquities Act Enclosure II National Monuments Established bv Presidential Proclamation Acreage when Period Monument name State established 1906-10 Devil’s Tower Wyoming lS52.91 El Morro New Mexico 160.00 Montezuma Castle Arizona 160.00 Petrified Forest Arizona 60,776.02 Chaco Canyon New Mexico - 20,629.40 Cinder Cone California 5,120.OO Lassen Peak California L280.00 Gila Cliff-Dwellings New Mexico 160.00 Tonto Arizona 640.00 Muir Woods California 295.00 Grand Canyon I Arizona 808,120.00b Pinnacles California 2,080.OO Jewel Cave South Dakota 1,274.56b Natural Bridges Utah 120.00b Lewis and Clark Cavern Montana 160.00 Turnacacori Arizona 10.00 Wheeler Colorado 300.00 Mount Olympus Washington 639,200.00b Navajo Arizona 360.00b Oregon Caves Oregon 480.00 Mukuntuweap Utah 16,000.00b Shoshone Cavern Wyoming 210.00 Gran Quivira New Mexico 160.00 (now Salinas Pueblo Missions) Sitka Alaska 57.00 Rainbow Bridge Utah 160.00 Big Hole Battlefield Montana 5.00 1911-20 Colorado Colorado 13,883.06 Devil Postpile California 798.46b Cabrillo California o.50b Papago Saguaro Arizona 2,050.43 Dinosaur Colorado and Utah 80.00 Walnut Canyon Arizona 960.00 Bandelier New Mexico 23,352.00b Sieur de Monts Maine 5,ooo.oo Capulin Mountain New Mexico 680.37 (now Capulin Volcano) Old Kasaan Alaska 43.00b Verendrye North Dakota 253.04 Zion I Utah 60,800.00” Casa Grande Arizona 480.00 (now Casa Grande Ruins) Katmai Alaska 1,088,000.00 Scotts Bluff Nebraska 2,053.83 Yucca House Colorado 9.60b 9 GAOLRCED-99-244R Usage of the Antiquities Act Enclosure II Acreage when Period Monument name State established 1921-30 Lehman Caves Nevada 593.03 Timpanogos Cave Utah 250.00 Fossil Cycad South Dakota 320.00 Aztec Ruin New Mexico 4.60 (now Aztec Ruins) Hovenweep Colorado and Utah 285.80 Mound City Group Ohio - 57.00 Pipe Spring Arizona 40.00 Bryce Canyon Utah 7,440.oo Carlsbad Cave New Mexico 719.22 Chiricahua Arizona 3,655.12b Craters of the Moon Idaho 22,651.80b Castle Pinckney South Carolina 3.50 Fort Marion Florida 18.51b (now Castillo de San Marcos) Fort Matanzas Florida 1.00 Fort Pulaski Georgia 20.00 Statue of Liberty New York 2.50 (Fort Wood) Wupatki Arizona 2,234.lO Meriwether Lewis Tennessee 50.00 Glacier Bay Alaska 1,164,800.00 Father Millet Cross New York O.Old (Fort Niagara) Lava Beds California 45,589.92b Arches Utah 4,520.OO Holy Cross Colorado 1,392.oo Sunset Crater Arizona 3,040.00b (now Sunset Crater Volcano) 193l-40 Great Sand Dunes Colorado 35;528.36b Grand Canyon II Arizona 273,145.OO White Sands New Mexico 131,486.84b Death Valley California and Nevada 848,581.36b Saguaro Arizona 53,5 10.OSb Black Canyon of the Gunnison Colorado 10,287.95b Cedar Breaks Utah 5,701.3gb Fort Jefferson Florida 47, 125.00b Joshua Tree California 825,340.OO Zion II Utah 49,150.oo Organ Pipe Cactus Arizona 330,690.OO Capitol Reef Utah 37,060.OO ’ Channel Islands California 1,119.98b Fort Lararnie Wyoming 214.41 SantaRosa Island Florida 9,500.oo Tuzigoot Arizona 42.67 10 GAOLRCED-99-244R Usage of the Antiquities Act Enclosure II Acreage when Period Monument name State established 1941-50 Jackson Hole Wyoming 210,950.00b Effigy Mounds Iowa 1,OOO.OOb 1951-60 Edison Laboratory New Jersey 1.51b 1961-70 Chesapeakeand Ohio Canal Maryland 4,800.OO Russell Cave Alabama - 3 10.45b Buck Island Reef Virgin Islands 850.00 Marble Canyon Arizona 26,080.OO 971-80 Admiralty Island Alaska 1,100,000.00 Aniakchak Alaska 350,000.00 Becharof Alaska 1,200,000.00 Bering Land Bridge Alaska 2,590,000.00 Cape Krusenstem Alaska 560,OOO.OO Denah Alaska 3,890,OOO.OO Gates of the Arctic Alaska 8,220,OOO.OO Kenai Fjords Alaska 570,000.00 Kobuk Valley Alaska 1,710,000.00 Lake Clark Alaska 2,500,OOO.OO Misty Fjords Alaska 2,285,OOO.OO Noatak Alaska 5,800,OOO.OO Wrangell-St. Elias Alaska 10,950,000.00 Yukon Flats Alaska 10,600,000.00 Yukon-Charley Alaska 1,720,OOO.OO 198l-present Grand Staircase-Escalante Utah 1,700,000.00” ‘Unless otherwise noted, the acreage is the amount specified or described in the presidential proclamation establishing each monument. bAcreage information obtained from the Department of the interior. ‘This national monument (Zion I) totaled 76,800 acres when proclaimed. However, because it incorporated the Mukuntuweap National Monument, which totaled 16,000 acres, we show the net increase in acreage resulting from the proclamation, which is 60,800acres. ?he proclaimed acreage for this monument was 0.0074. “The size of the Grand Staircase-Escalante monument was later adjusted to 1.9 million acres. 11 GAO/RCED-99-244R Usage of the Antiquities Act Enclosure III GAO Requirements in the Antiquities Act, NEPA, FLPMA, and NFMA Requires Facilitates Requires public environmental congressional participation documentation oversight A n tiq u ities Act” % NEPAb J ‘Gonfers presidential authority. bPertains to a federal agency or agencies. r/=yes %=no (141340) 12 GAOLRCED-99-244R Usage of the Antiquities Act Ordering Information The first copy of each GAO report andtestimony is free. Additional copies are $2 each. Orders should be sent to the following address, accompanied by a check or money order made out to the Superintendent of Documents, when necessary. 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Federal Land Management: Information on Usage of the Antiquities Act
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-07-09.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)