Protection of future national monuments may be at risk

The recently designated San Juan Islands National Monument, Washington. 

flickr, Carla

Just a few weeks ago President Obama designated five new national monuments, but now foes of conservation are at it again trying to damage our nation's ability to create new national monuments.

On April 16, the House Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing to once again consider undermining the Antiquities Act which allows the president to set aside important historical, cultural and natural lands for public enjoyment.

The Antiquities Act has been used to designate and protect national monuments by 16 presidents from both parties - from Theodore Roosevelt to George W. Bush.

The act has protected some of our nation’s most treasured natural and cultural wonders, from  Natural Bridges, UT, to Giant Sequoia, Calif., and even the Grand Canyon, which was originally designated as a national monument. 

It has protected numerous beloved national monuments, from The Statue of Liberty to Mount St. Helens to the recently designated Rio Grande del Norte and portions of the San Juan Islands in Washington

This hearing is especially ironic given that it happened during the same week that a group of business owners and local elected officials from throughout the country gathered in Washington D.C. to thank President Obama's administration for his recent designation of five new national monuments.

Tell President Obama thank you for designating America's newest national monuments. 

National monuments add to the quality of life for people living near them. It has been well documented that monuments support nearby communities by attracting tourism dollars and creating state jobs.

“By protecting these critical natural areas we are protecting thousands of jobs and industries that depend on them while preserving these brilliant vistas for our children and grandchildren,” said Kevin Ranker, Washington State Senator. 

And polls show that public lands are highly valued by voters, who see them as a job creator in their state. An increasingly diverse group of voices are now working for action on land conservation, including small businesses, sportsmen, underserved communities and veterans. 

Slideshow: National monuments recently designated by President Obama using the Antiquities Act

Read our tweets from the House hearing to damage the Antiquities Act: