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)

      United States
GAO   General Accounting  Office
      Washington, D.C. 20548

      Resources, Community,   and
      Economic Development    Division


      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

National Monuments Established bv Presidential Proclamation Under the Antiauities

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

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

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


    y    70
    g    60
     0   40
                                                  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

  s    60
  E    40
  L    30
 a     20
                                                                 ..        :
       10                                                             .:

                         6.9                         L

                       1906-69                        1970-present

 6                                        GAOLRCED-99-24+&RUsage of the Antiquities   Act
Enclosure II

GAO          Acreage of National Monuments Established                    by
             Presidential Proclamation, by Decade

      54.0                        Alaska monuments

.-     3.0
“E     2.5
.I     2.0
 gt    15
a      1:o

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

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

?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
                               documentation                                  oversight

 A n tiq u ities
 Act”                                                                               %


‘Gonfers presidential authority.
bPertains to a federal agency or agencies.                                 r/=yes           %=no


 12                                                    GAOLRCED-99-244R   Usage of the Antiquities       Act
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