WASHINGTON – Today, Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) reintroduced the Protect Utah’s Rural Economy (PURE) Act. The bill would protect Utah from presidential Antiquities Act abuse in much the same way Alaska and Wyoming are currently protected.
“Rural Americans want what all Americans want: a dignified decent-paying job, a family to love and support, and a healthy community whose future is determined by local residents – not their self-styled betters thousands of miles away,” Sen. Lee said. “That is why I am reintroducing the Protecting Utah’s Rural Economy Act today, a bill that would protect Utah from future abuses under the Antiquities Act. The PURE Act would give Utah’s rural communities a real voice in local land management policies, a voice they currently do not have today, by prohibiting the president from establishing or expanding a national monument in Utah unless the proposed monument has been authorized by an act of Congress and the state legislature.”
“For too long, Washington bureaucrats have dictated to our counties, ranchers, and recreators how and if they can use their lands,” said Senator Romney. “The PURE Act returns the decision-making and management power of our public lands to those closest to the land. I’m proud to sponsor legislation that puts an end to excessive landgrabs and provides rural Utahns a voice in land management.”
Passed in 1906, the Antiquities Act was originally intended to protect objects of historic and cultural interest like artifacts and religious sites. Unfortunately, what was once a narrowly targeted tool for preventing looting on federal lands has become a tool distant elites use against rural Americans. Two states, Alaska and Wyoming, currently enjoy protections from future Antiquities Act designations after millions of acres were restricted in those states.