U.S. House passes first national monument legislation in the 113th Congress

Jul 22, 2013

Stornetta Public Lands near Point Arena

Bureau of Land Management

The Wilderness Society opposes amendment that sets a dangerous precedent that limits expansion

The Wilderness Society today welcomed the passage of the California Coastal National Monument Expansion Act (H.R. 1411) in the U.S. House of Representatives. 
The California Coastal National Monument Expansion Act (H.R. 1411) would protect over 1,000 acres of public land that is recognized for its natural and scenic values. Located three hours up the coast from San Francisco, this monument is home to the Point Arena Mountain Beaver, wetlands and wildlife, and could become the first land-based addition to the California Coastal National Monument. Residents of the area have worked with previous Congresses to introduce legislation that would protect the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands. 
The Wilderness Society was disappointed that an amendment from Congressman Bishop was added to the legislation, which will limit future land acquisition and expansion of the monument, and will work to improve that language in the Senate for a clean bill moving forward.
“The Wilderness Society is pleased to see the House passing conservation legislation that is supported by communities on the ground,” said Dan Smuts, California senior regional director at The Wilderness Society. “The 112th Congress was the first one since World War II to not protect a single new acre of public land as a national monument, national park or wilderness area, so we are cautiously optimistic that the logjam is breaking. We hope that the Point Arena-Stornetta public lands become protected this year.” 
Frustrated with the 112th Congress’ inaction, local communities on the ground asked President Obama to protect the places they care about -- such as Fort Monroe in Virginia and the Rio Grande del Norte in northern New Mexico -- and he listened.  In February 2013, Reps. Jared Huffman (D, CA-2) and Mike Thompson (D, CA-5) and Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) sent a letter to President Obama asking him to use the Antiquities Act to protect Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands.  
Jeremy Garncarz
(970) 403-6186