From the Los Angeles Times:
President Obama on Tuesday will use his executive powers to expand the California Coastal National Monument by adding the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands on the Mendocino County coast.
The order will add 1,665 acres of federal land north of the town of Point Arena to the monument, which was established in 2000. Managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management, the new acreage includes the area where the Garcia River enters the Pacific Ocean. This will be the first onshore land to be included in the monument.
The monument was set aside to protect the numerous islands and reefs that hug the California coastline for 1,100 miles and to
The Washington Post notes that
[w]hile the administration has been reluctant in the past to declare many monuments — the last time it did so was nearly a year ago, when Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced five designations before leaving office — the administration is increasingly open to the idea. White House counselor John D. Podesta, who played a key role in crafting a national monuments strategy under Clinton, and said last year that conservation should be put on an equal footing with energy development on federal lands, has pushed for more designations since joining the West Wing staff this year.California's Democratic members of the House and Senate had been pushing for bills to protect the land, but “If we wait for Congress, it’s never going to happen,” said Scott Schneider, chief executive of Visit Mendocino County.
Greenwire(sub) notes the willful abysmal failure of Congress to protect our public lands, having protected zero acres of wilderness since the first months of the Obama administration. At that time, the Democratic Congress protected over 2 million acres of wilderness on federal land, as well as protecting scenic and wild rivers, and other natural areas.
The current Congress was headed for a similar fate until last week when the House by voice vote passed S. 23, a bill to designate more than 30,000 acres of wilderness at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan, sending it to Obama's desk (E&E Daily, March 5).
While Congress could pass additional standalone conservation bills -- a House committee recently advanced a pair of wilderness bills in Nevada -- moving sizable public lands packages in an election year could be a political tall task...
...approximately 2.9 million acres have been permanently protected during the Obama administration, compared to 7.3 million acres leased for oil and gas companies.
Obama has declared or expanded 10 monuments encompassing just under 300,000 acres. Clinton designated 19 monuments and expanded three more, protecting more than 6 million acres -- not including the California Coastal monument -- according to federal records.
Conservation groups are hopeful that Obama will designate more landscape-scale monuments in his second term, including the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks in New Mexico, the Boulder-White Clouds in Idaho and the Greater Canyonlands in Utah.