WASHINGTON (Jan. 13, 2017) – The Public Lands Council and NCBA today blasted President Obama’s new national monument expansion in Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and called for Congress to swiftly pass legislation introduced this week by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) that would curtail similar abuses in the future.
“Once again, President Obama made a unilateral decision to lock off thousands of acres without appropriate environmental or economic assessment,” said Ethan Lane, executive director of PLC and NCBA federal lands. “This decision will permanently alter a community and potentially put at least five ranching families out of business. This continued abuse of the Antiquities Act speaks to the need of permanent reform – no administration should have such unchecked authority to destroy a community.”
Under the 1906 Antiquities Act, the President has the power to unilaterally designate national monuments without the consent of Congress, state or local governments, or impacted stakeholders. These designations often come with overreaching and restrictive management provisions in the name of environmental protections. President Obama has taken full advantage of his executive power, using the Antiquities Act more than any other president before him and locking up millions of acres.
The expansion of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument includes 42,000 acres of public and privately-owned land on the Oregon/California border.
NCBA and PLC urge Congress to take up Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Murkowski’s bill, Improved National Monument Designation Process Act, without delay. The bill would require congressional and state approval for the designation of any new monument, bringing the reform needed to curtail the on-going abuse of the Antiquities Act.