Press Release

Bishop Responds to President Obama’s New National Monument Designation

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Washington, April 20, 2012 | | comments

Upon learning of President Obama’s designation of a nearly 15,000 acre national monument located within Fort Ord, a former military base in California, National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop issued the following statement:

“The Antiquities Act has long served as a mechanism for the President to circumvent Congress in order to make new land designations.  When there is buy-in from the state and surrounding communities, new national monuments designations can be a good thing, but throughout history and in different Administrations we have seen the Antiquities Act misused as a tool to advance special interest agendas.  President Clintons’ disingenuous designation of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, which locked up one of the nation’s largest known coal reserves, is just one example. 

“If national monuments are welcomed additions to the state and surrounding communities then they should have no problem passing in congress on their own merits.  There must be greater oversight in this process to ensure that the Antiquities Act is not being misused as a tool to unilaterally lock up lands from multiple use without the state’s consent.  I remain very concerned that without greater congressional oversight, the Antiquities Act will continue to enable the President to make new land designations without total transparency and public input.  Therefore, I continue to support efforts in the House and Senate to advance policies aimed at bringing oversight to the national monument designation process.  On Tuesday, the House passed an amendment with bipartisan support that would require approval by state-level elected officials before national monument restrictions are implemented,” said Congressman Bishop.

Fort Ord is a former Army base located on Monterey Bay, California.  It opened in 1917 and was closed in 1994 as part of a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. During a visit to Fort Ord on January 13, 2012 U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that he was proposing that President Obama utilize the Antiquities Act to designate part of the former base as a new national monument.

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