HomeNewsState Officials Urge Local Consultation When Designating National Monuments

State Officials Urge Local Consultation When Designating National Monuments

At a House subcommittee hearing this week, officials from various states advocated for changes to the national monument designation process. They emphasized the need for increased consultation with local stakeholders and consideration of their needs.

This hearing by the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands occurred a week after President Trump signed an executive order directing the Secretary of the Interior to assess whether large-scale national monument designations adequately considered public and stakeholder outreach.

The agency subsequently announced the commencement of public comments on its review of national monuments the following Friday.

“The intent behind the Antiquities Act is laudable and a great deal of good has been accomplished nationwide through its exercise over the last 110 years,” Director of the Utah Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office Kathleen Clarke wrote in prepared testimony to the House committee. “But there should be limits upon the nature of the objects that may be protected, and the size of monuments should be limited to that which allows optimal protections for those objects.”

“The creation of these huge monuments has unnecessarily had significant and negative impacts upon the traditional uses of these lands and upon the lives and livelihoods of the local populations that have stewarded the lands for generations,” she continued. Clarke is the former head of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

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The Antiquities Act of 1906 allows the president to designate federal lands as national monuments based on their historical, cultural, or scientific significance. The legislation also mandates that these designations should be limited to the smallest area necessary for their proper care and management.

“These designations were often imposed despite local opposition, without consultation with Congress, or the state or local government’s [a]ffected, and without regard for the economic damage these designations have had on surrounding communities,” Subcommittee Chairman Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) said.

State Officials Urge Local Consultation
Maine Gov. Paul LePage

Maine Governor Paul LePage (R) testified that President Obama’s designation of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in the northern part of the state faced significant local opposition.

“In 2015, three local communities held non-binding referendums to measure the support for a National Park in the area. All three of these communities voted overwhelmingly against such as designation,” LePage said.

“I believe the law should be amended to require local approval before the President can unilaterally designate a National Monument,” LePage said. “This support should include approvals from the state’s governor and legislature.”

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Nishan Dahal
Nishan Dahal
Nishan Dahal is a versatile writer and skilled editor with a passion for storytelling and a keen eye for detail. At Western Wire, Nishan leverages his expertise to craft compelling narratives and provide insightful analysis across a range of topics, from breaking news to entertainment updates. His commitment to journalistic excellence and accuracy makes him an invaluable member of the Western Wire team.

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