More than a Million acres assigned by Obama for three new monuments.
In spite of the resistance by the Republicans, President Barack Obama has gone ahead to announce the creation of more national monuments. The president made this known on Friday, stating that the three national monuments will encompass over a million acres of protected sites in California, Texas and Nevada.
The protected site include Waco Mammoth which is a small, rare site located in central Texas, a place where archeologists have made an amazing discovery of the remains of a Columbian mammoth of about 65,000 years old which moved about freely during the ice age.
Another designated area is the Great Basin Region or Nevada’s Range and Basin, an area measuring over 700,000 acres. It is the home for petroglyphs, a rock art 4000 years old and also Michael Heizer’s sculptures of Meso-American life.
Over 300,000 acres at California’s Berryessa snow mountain have been set aside for a monument. According to the white house, this decision is based on the rich biodiversity of the area and the Native American cultural sites. The designation, officials say will scale up visits to the area which is already an attraction for hikers, carpenters, hunters and fishermen.
According to the Antiquities Act of 1906, the president has the right to allocate ecological or historically significant sites without seeking the approval of the congress. This, however, does not go down well with some lawmakers who consider it as a move by the federal government to designate land with no local input whatsoever.
Representative Cresent Hardy who supported an amendment of the current Interior Department spending bill to prevent the president from building monuments in places where there is local opposition said that any decision which limits recreation, ranching or other kinds of land use activity should have a significant amount of local input.He said the amendment was intended to empower local stakeholders and local communities who would most likely be affected by the new monument designations.
The amendment did not affect the announcement made by the President on Friday. This is because the bill which was passed by the house on Wednesday needs to be approved by the House senate conference and senate action before the president will be entitled to obey it.
This latest designation by President Obama now makes 19 the number of monuments expanded or created by his administration. New monuments were designated by Obama earlier this year in Colorado, Illinois and Hawaii and he expanded the Marine National Monument of the Pacific Remote Islands to an area of 490,000 square miles, thus making it the world’s largest marine reserve.