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Committee Requests Information on Obama Administration's Intentions to Designate or Expand Marine Monuments in Nation's Waters

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 7, 2015 -

Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT), and Reps. John Fleming (R-LA), Don Young (R-AK), and Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-AS) sent a letter today to Council on Environmental Quality Managing Director Christy Goldfuss and Assistant Administrator for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Eileen Sobeck to request further information on the Obama Administration’s plans to designate new marine monuments or expand existing monuments. This concerns all coastal states. 

In particular, the members of the Committee raised concerns about the apparent collusion and influence of environmental groups with regard to the Interior Department's designation process, with almost no local input. 

The letter stated, "[T]he day after the Subcommittee’s hearing, a chain of emails were publicly released which raise serious questions regarding the Administration’s plans for a new marine monument designation and the potential involvement of a number of outside interests. Specifically, the emails show representatives from the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Pew warning their members to avoid talking to the ‘outside world’ about the organizations’ efforts to influence the Administration to announce a Marine National Monument off of New England during the 'Our Ocean Conference' in Chile.”

The lack of transparency surrounding the number and scope of potential future designations was a point of emphasis for the Subcommittee on Water, Power and Ocean’s oversight hearing on September 29, 2015.

“As witnesses indicated in testimony before the Water, Power and Oceans Subcommittee hearing, the public input process surrounding the designation or expansion of national marine monuments has been woefully inadequate, or even nonexistent. The American people and those impacted by such potential designations deserve the right to know now what the federal government is or has been doing behind closed doors, given that a true public process simply does not exist under current law or practice.”

The letter requests records of all meetings regarding the designation or revision of national monuments, correspondence and memos related to national marine monument designations, and Executive branch communications including those with non-governmental organizations connected to the September 15, 2015 National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Town Hall meeting in Providence, Rhode Island.

Click here to view the full letter.


Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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