by Amy Cooke and Matthew Anderson
Our founding fathers’ fear of tyranny drove them to great lengths to ensure a separation of powers in our Constitution. They created a system of checks and balances that is as much a part of the political fabric of America as Independence Day.
This system has produced sensible and collaborative policy for more than two centuries and is the gold standard of good and just government. Yet checks and balances are lacking in federal lands policy, and that absence has opened up the West to a host of devastating consequences.
In response to widespread looting and desecration of Native American historical sites near the turn of the 20th century, Congress passed the Antiquities Act in 1906. The law gave presidents the ability to unilaterally set aside federal lands as national monuments with the stroke of a pen. While the intentions of the law were pure, such unchecked, concentrated power has exposed the Act to widespread abuses from presidents of both political parties.
Read the whole article originally published in The Hill on August 21, 2017.