The Public Lands Council and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association slammed President Biden’s use of the Antiquities Act to put sweeping federal designations on over a million additional acres of land in Arizona, amounting to yet another presidential land grab. This designation is the latest in a long series of recent actions from the Biden administration that has disenfranchised communities across the West.
“Rural communities have long been an afterthought to D.C. politicians and this decision once again shows that President Biden cares more about talking points than truly listening to the needs of rural communities and ranching families,” said PLC President Mark Roeber, a Colorado rancher. “While this designation may appear to be a ‘win’ on paper, the new monument comes with no outreach to the public lands ranchers who have stewarded the lands for generations. Decisions like these set land management in the West back by 50 years or more all so President Biden could score a few cheap political points.”
“This kind of use of the Antiquities Act is one of the most appallingly political moves to lock up millions of acres of land across the country. Today’s latest designation follows a concerning trend of Washington politicians trampling local communities, land managers, farmers, and ranchers with the stroke of a pen,” said NCBA President Todd Wilkinson, a South Dakota cattle producer. “NCBA is strongly opposed to the continued abuse of the Antiquities Act, and we urge President Biden to listen to the local communities that will be hurt by this designation.”
NCBA says this designation adds insult to injury for communities that are unheard and intentionally removed from land management conversations. Additionally, the Biden administration failed to communicate with the affected landowners prior to the designation and their so-called public opinion meeting and poll failed to gather perspective from the people most impacted by this decision.
The Antiquities Act gives the President of the United States broad power establish national monuments from existing federal lands. The cct requires no review, economic impact analysis, or public input required. In effect, the act allows any President to radically reshape rural economies, eliminate jobs, and harm industries operating on public lands all through the stroke of a pen.
The livestock groups say that these designations are especially harmful to rural communities that rely on federal lands for their livelihood, such as public lands ranchers.
Public lands ranching has existed since the early days of exploration in the West and is governed today by the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934. Nearly 40 percent of cattle spend their time on public lands and public lands ranchers protect water sources, safeguard open space, promote forage growth, limit invasive species, and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires.
Photo: National Park Service