December 18, 2017

Obama Takes Three More National Monuments

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Press Release from House Committee on Natural Resources:

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 18, 2015 – House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01) released the following statement after President Obama announced his intentions to unilaterally proclaim three new national monuments using the Antiquities Act of 1906.

“President Obama has sidelined the American public and bulldozed transparency by proclaiming three new national monuments through executive fiat. The Obama Administration claims these designations have public support, but we know that is a complete stretch of the truth. The cost to taxpayers is anyone’s guess and the impacts upon local communities are unknown. Congress has demonstrated that it can work in a collaborative fashion to fully vet and approve designations that have support from the public and their elected representatives. This White House has shown once again its utter and complete disdain for the public process, Congress, and the communities most impacted by these unilateral, unchecked land designations.”

The President’s designations include Pullman Historic District in Chicago, Illinois, Browns Canyon in Salida, Colorado, and the site of a World War II-era internment camp in Honouliuli, Hawaii, and will be formally announced on Thursday, February 19, 2015.

Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee Chairman Doug Lamborn (CO-05), stated: “Despite his calls to be the most transparent administration in history, President Obama has once again chosen to stifle public input and thumb his nose at Congress. Top-down, big government approaches and land grabs through executive order disenfranchise concerned citizens, and that’s exactly what happened in the Browns Canyon region. During my time in Congress, I have heard from hundreds of locals who don’t want to see Browns Canyon declared a National Monument. The President’s unilateral designation of Browns Canyon casts aside the concerns raised by local citizens whose concerns about grazing rights, water rights, and the inability to manage and fight wildfire in the area that will now never be satisfactorily addressed. People must realize that national monuments created by Presidential executive order under the Antiquities Act often become underfunded and neglected orphan properties. This is because they are created outside the normal Congressional process and without local consensus, robbing the people of fair and open input. Browns Canyon does not deserve this kind of second-class status.”

  • somsai

    Browns Canyon was supported by most of the businesses in Salida and Buena Vista so I can’t quibble too much though I’ve no way of knowing how everyone else in the area thought of it. The people a conservation action has the most affect on are the people who should have the most control over that action.

    It’s extremely popular with commercial rafting companies who take people on 3 or 4 hour floats afterwards they are welcome to eat and shop in the local towns. The “monument” area is roughly 4 miles wide by 15 or 20 miles long.

    Having a monument is thought to attract more tourist dollars.

    Not happy about those locals who have to drag an elk out of there but that’s how it goes.

    • TRemington

      I wonder what those rafting companies will do WHEN they will be made to NOT use this resource again?

    • Chandie Bartell

      Monuments destroy our local economies. The management of federal land by LOCK and KEY has destroyed the middle class in rural Idaho, Montana and other PNW states.

      • somsai

        My reflexive feeling is to agree with you Chandie. I look on many changing of designations of land with a jaundiced eye, usually it means one usergroup pushing out another. In this case it’s done not necessarily even to eliminate some uses but just to add a catchy title, “Monument” onto the geographical name to attract more business and tourism. I don’t think there are mineral or logging resources much to speak of, and the grazing leases are grandfathered in, but I’m still uneasy.

        “New Conservation” suggests those most affected by a conservation action have the most influence on whether that action occurs. Usually that ideal plays out to some extent or another anyway via the congressional delegation from a given state approving or not. I’d like to see those ideals followed closer so that for instance Denver isn’t deciding to support designating Wilderness for Meeker, or Minneapolis deciding on wolves for upper Minnesota.

        Part of what is driving this new way of looking at conservation is exactly the great harm, that it is now recognised, was done to the people of the NW United States via the spotted owl. All for a species on the decline regardless, and to stop logging that is now recognised as a needed forestry tool.