In 2009, an internal document from the Department of the Interior (DOI) revealed the Obama Administration’s plans to potentially designate new national monuments under the Antiquities Act. The proposed designations would lock-up millions of acres of public lands in the West, without Congressional approval or public input, and restrict access for energy production, recreation, and other job-creating economic activities. The Committee continues to seek increased transparency on the Administration’s actions and will oppose efforts to unilaterally lock-up more public land.
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The proposed designations and acquisitions would lock-up at least 13 million acres of land in 11 Western states, cost hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars and be done without Congressional approval.
It would also have huge ramifications on our nation’s energy, restricting access to immense oil, gas, and mineral deposits, as well as blocking pipelines and transmission corridors.
Natural Resources Committee Republicans have repeatedly asked the Department of Interior to turn over information related to this draft document. Secretary Salazar has publicly said that there is “no secret agenda” and wants to have a “public dialogue.” Therefore, the Department should be willing to answer questions regarding the exact undertakings and status of the potential Monument designations, as well as what outside groups and individuals have been involved in the secret planning.
After Republicans introduced legislation (H. Res. 1406) directing the Secretary of the Interior to transmit to the House of Representatives certain information relating to the Secretary’s Treasured Landscape Initiative, potential designation of National Monuments, and High Priority Land-Rationalization Efforts, the Interior Department released all 25 pages of the draft memo. However, they continue to purposely withhold 2,016 pages of related documents.