Event Date: Oct 09, 2006
Event Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Wittemyer Courtroom, Wolf Law School

 

Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt celebrated the centennial of the Antiquities Act – used by U.S. Presidents to declare national monuments and thereby protect millions of acres of land – in a talk at the University of Colorado at Boulder on Oct. 9.

Babbitt spoke at 7:00 p.m. in the courtroom of the Wolf Law Building in an event co-sponsored by CU-Boulder’s Natural Resources Law Center and the Center of the American West.

For 100 years, the Antiquities Act has been used by nearly every U.S. President in the twentieth century to set aside and protect land from privatization or development. Many of the nation’s most treasured national parks – including Olympic, Zion, Arches, Glacier Bay, and Acadia – were first protected under the act.

“The Antiquities Act is a law of great consequence with comparatively low visibility,” said History Professor Patty Limerick, Faculty Director of the Center of the American West. “We are very fortunate to have Bruce Babbitt, one of the most thoughtful and innovative public officials in Western history, in Boulder to draw attention to this law on the occasion of its 100th birthday.”

As Interior Secretary from 1993 to 2001, Babbitt tackled some of the most complex and controversial issues in public land management. His work resulted in reforms to mining, grazing, and endangered species law, and the protection of millions of acres of federal land through the designation and creation of several national monuments.

Highlights of his tenure as Interior Secretary include shaping the old-growth forest plan in the Pacific Northwest; drafting interagency plans to restore the ecosystems of south Florida, the Everglades and Florida Bay; helping to enact the massive California Desert Protection Act, the largest land-protection bill ever enacted in the lower 48 states; and negotiating the largest state-federal land swap in the history of the lower 48 states to create, with the use of the Antiquities Act, the 2-million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and other parks in Utah.