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Groups seek changes in how national monuments begin

California Farm Bureau Federation AgAlert 1/18/17

A coalition of 19 groups dedicated to protecting multiple uses of public lands has urged President-elect Donald Trump to work with Congress to pass legislation to improve accountability and transparancy in the designation of national monuments.

The American Farm Bureau Federation has spearheaded the coalition. A coalition letter said designation of lands as national monuments or similar status without input from affected communities "can lead, and in fact has led, to devastating reductions in economic activity and the loss of jobs in resource-dependent communities."

The coalition said the Obama administration has used authority provided by the Antiquities Act to lock up millions of acres of land from multiple use by designating land as national monuments.

The coalition said the Antiquities Act of 1906 was enacted as a response to concerns over theft from and destruction of archaeological sites, and was intended to provide an expeditious means to protect federal lands and resources. The act requires the president to reserve "the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected."

"The size and magnitude of recent monument designations grossly fail to meet the intent of Congress and objective of the law," the coalition letter said. The coalition told Trump that landowners, grazing permit holders, loggers, forest products companies, miners and local governments should be fully involved as affected partners in any process to execute federal land-use designations that restrict public use and access.

Specifically, the groups said they would work toward congressional revisions of the Antiquities Act to require that any presidential national monument proclamation be subject to congressional approval and limited to no more than 5,000 acres, per the original intent of the act.

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.



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