Interior Secretary Jewell defends Antiquities Act

On the heels of the recent passage of HR 1459, the “Preventing New Parks bill,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell defended the Antiquities Act against further attacks during the April 3rd budget hearing in front of the House Natural Resources Committee.

During the hearing – intended to focus on the President’s FY 2015 budget proposal – Interior Secretary Jewell was questioned on the Antiquities Act by the sponsor of the Preventing New Parks Bill, Congressman Rob Bishop.

Secretary Jewell went out of her way to defend the purpose of the Antiquities Act as well as the Administration’s thoughtful use of the Act, characterized by a process for soliciting substantial local input on protecting public lands.

Earlier in the hearing, Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA) took his opportunity to speak to thank Secretary Jewell for the recent expansion of the California Coastal National Monument in his district.  The Congressman mentioned that they are already hearing anecdotal evidence that the designation has resulted in increased tourism in Mendocino County.  This comes as no surprise following the data about the economic benefits of protecting public lands issued on March 20th by the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce to mark the one year anniversary of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument designation.

Congressman Huffman’s comments and the Rio Grande del Norte data are only part of a larger growing body of evidence that National Monuments are important to our economy!

Continuing to highlight the importance of the Antiquities Act and the multiple benefits that national monuments bring to our lives is incredibly important.  While Congressman Huffman and others spoke out in defense of the law on March 26th, the fight is far from over.

It’s good to see that Congressman Huffman, Secretary Jewell, and other champions of public lands continue to fight for one of our nation’s most important conservation tools!