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Original Action Alert:
Jewell Outlines Aggressive Agenda in Speech
On October 31, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a speech at the National Press Club, “If Congress doesn’t step up to act to protect some of these important places that have been identified by communities and people throughout the country, then the President will take action. There’s no question that if Congress doesn’t act, we will.” Jewell was referring to designating huge swaths of public lands as National Monuments. When she calls on Congress to “step up,” she may be ignoring that local citizens, including some recreationists and businesses near public lands where Wilderness or other special designations are being considered, may not support such action.
Please click the Send Message button to send an email to Secretary Jewell opposing any unilateral decision to designate huge swaths of public lands as National Monuments without the widespread support of the local affected public.
As it stands, the Antiquities Act of 1906 grants the President the authority to designate “…historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments.” The Antiquities Act also holds that national monuments should be “…confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected…,” yet Presidents of both parties have, in our view, inappropriately designated enormous swaths of public lands as national monuments. One particularly egregious example was the designation of nearly 2 million acres of public land as the Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument in Utah.
Too often when widespread local and Congressional support to designate public lands as Wilderness cannot be established, Wilderness proponents turn to a strategy of calling for the President to achieve similar goals by administratively designating the area as a National Monument. It is no secret that those most affected by land use decisions are those who live, recreate and make their livelihoods on or near the public lands in question.