Skip to main content

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, in a speech to the National Press Club on October 31, said if Congress doesn't act to protect threatened public land, President Obama will.

Jewell said she will be meeting with communities in the coming months to identify public lands deserving of protection as  National Monuments under the Antiquities Act.

She chastised Congress for going three years without protecting a single new acre of land as a national park or wilderness.

The Energy and Environment News [sub] covered her speech:

"If Congress doesn't step up to act to protect some of these important places that have been identified by communities and people throughout the country, then the president will take action," Jewell said, suggesting that Congress pass another omnibus lands bill. "There's no question that if Congress doesn't act, we will."
She noted that while the administration prefers that Congress pass Omnibus public lands legislation---like it did in 2009---President Obama would not hesitate to use his authority under the Antiquities Act to create new national monuments.

She did not specify which areas would be top priorities.

"I guess I haven’t seen anything yet where everybody agrees on everything, but certainly where there is a groundswell of support we will focus our energies,” she said. “We won’t be focusing our energies where there is a tremendous amount of conflict.”

While this is encouraging news, and was met by praise from conservation organizations, there aren't very many wild areas that aren't subject to "some amount of conflict"---usually by oil, gas, and mining interests---otherwise Congress would have protected them long ago.

Historically, many of our iconic national parks like the Grand Canyon were first protected by presidential order because opposition by locals and by developers kept Congress from acting. One notable recent example was President Clinton's creation of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument  in Utah in 1996.

Southern Utah continues to be the focus of current efforts to protect our wild landscapes, with a proposal to create a Greater Canyonlands National Monument. This proposal is (of course) opposed by the Republican members of the Utah Congressional delegation, but it is supported by a wide range of organizations, including the Sierra Club, the Wilderness Society, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and other members of the Utah Wilderness Coalition. 

The Sierra Club has put together a short list of proposed national monuments that could cement Barack Obama's environmental legacy with one stroke of the pen. See http://www.sierraclub.org/....

Secretary Jewell noted that having just returned from a visit to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, some places should never be opened to oil and gas drilling. And, remarking on the silver lining of the government shutdown of national parks and monuments she said, 

"To quote a well-known line from a Joni Mitchell song, 'You don't know what you've got till it's gone.'"

Originally posted to willyr on Fri Nov 08, 2013 at 02:21 PM PST.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots and National Parks and Wildlife Refuges.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site