Pros/Cons on New Natl. Monuments
Within a period of 10 days key Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have criticized President Obama’s designation of five national monuments, in part because of the financial toll they will exact, yet also lobbied for creation of a national historical park that would span three states, National Parks Traveler reported.
Part of the concern voiced by Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., and Rob Bishop, R-Utah, center on a perceived lack of public input when the president turned to the Antiquities Act to create the Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland, the First State National Monument in Delaware and Pennsylvania, the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico, the San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington state, and the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio.
“If these designations are worthy of implementation, then they should stand up on their own merits during the open and fair congressional process, which prioritizes public input,” Bishop said in a statement. “The use of the Antiquities Act cuts out public participation. There is a right way to designate federal lands, and there is a wrong way. Executive fiat is unquestionably the wrong way and is an abuse of executive privilege.”
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Meanwhile, Tom Kiernan, president of the National Parks Conservation Association, applauded President Obama for his use of the Antiquities Act in creating the five new national monuments. Kiernan’s statement follows:
“The National Parks Conservation Association applauds President Obama’s plans to use the Antiquities Act to designate the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad, First State, and Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monuments into our National Park System, on Monday. These important additions to our National Park System would not be possible without the generosity of The Conservation Fund, which donated the 1,500 acres in Delaware comprising the Woodlawn portion of the First State National Monument and the land donated to form the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Dorchester County, Maryland.
As we look to the 2016 centennial celebration of our National Park System, diversifying our national parks to more adequately reflect our cultural heritage, and connecting urban populations to our national parks are important goals that we share with the Administration and the National Park Service. The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad, First State, and Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monuments create our 399th, 400th, and 401st national park sites, and enhance our National Park System, from the inside and out.”