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National Monument Issues

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Publication Date: August 2003

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RS20902

Topic: Culture and religion (Museums, memorials, and monuments)


Presidential creation of national monuments under the Antiquities Act of 1906 often has been contentious. Controversy continues over President Clinton's creation of 19 monuments and expansion of 3 others. Issues have related to the size of the areas and types of resources protected, the inclusion of non-federal lands within monument boundaries, restrictions on land uses, and the manner in which the monuments were created. The Bush Administration is reviewing President Clinton's monument actions and developing management plans for some of the monuments. Congress is considering measures to limit the President's authority to create monuments and to alter particular monuments. Monument supporters assert that these changes are not warranted and that the courts and segments of the public have supported monument designations. This report will be updated to reflect changes.