New national monuments?

truffler1635 at truffler1635 at
Thu Nov 30 02:38:54 EST 2000

>From The Oregonian, Nov. 29, 2000, p A1

Clinton urged to step up land protections
Conservationists encourage the president to ensure his legacy by
shielding areas such as the Actic National Wildlife Refuge

By MICHELLE COLE, The Oregonian

	In his final days of office, President Carter signed the Alaska
Lands Act into law, protecting more than 100 million acres and ensureing
the one-term president more than a footnote in history books.
	Twenty years later, conservationists across the country can think of
no better way for President Clinton to seal his legacy than to declare
1.5 million acres within Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge a
national monument.
	And the Arctic is only No. 1 on their monument wish list.
	Local and national groups are waging e-mail campaigns, sending
thousands of postcards and buying newspaper ads to persuade Clinton to
declare at least a half-dozen new national monuments across the West,
including a proposed 1 million-acre Siskiyou Wild Rivers monument in
	"We're just hoping he will do as much as possible before he leaves,"
said Bart Koehler of The Wilderness Society.
	Odds are that Clinton won't disappoint them, said Ken Mayer, a
University of Wisconsin at Madison political scientist who has studied
Clinton's use of the authority granted to him by the 1906 Antiquities
	If Republican George W. Busyh wins the still-contested presidency,
Mayer predicts that Clinton could announce a new monument "every couple
of days" until he leaves office in January.
	To date, Clinton has created 11 monuments and expanded two. He has
used his executive authority to set aside more land in the lower 48
states - about 4.6 million acres - than any other president, according to
the White House. Depending on the monument, protections can include
prohibitions on logging, mining, grazing and off-road vehicles.
	This month, 247 scientists from across the nation signed a letter
urging the president toshield Alaska's biologically diverse coastal plain
from development, particularly from oil drilling. For more than five
years, conservationists have pushed Clinton to provide greater protection
for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but rising energy costs and
Bush's endorsement of limited oil drilling hae created a greater urgency
among ativists.
	Mayer said he's "virtually certain" that Clinton will announce an
Arctic Wildlife Monument once the presidential election is settled,
especially if Bush succeeds him.
	Chris Kelley, a spokesman for the American Petroleum Institute in
Washington, D.C., conceded that an Arctic monument would be the
"president's prerogative."
	"There's nothing we would od to try to head something like that
off," Kelley said. "Though we do think it would be a shame to take out of
possible development one of the potentially richest oil reserves in the
United States ata time when we are or should be looking to find ways to
wean America off of imported oil."
	The Blue Ribbon Colaition, representing more than 600,000 off-road
recreationsits, has filed lawsuits seeking to overturn Oregon's Cascade-
Siskiyou Monument and new monuments in three other Western states.
	"We expect to see a number of other new monuments designated before
Clinton leaves office," said Don Armador, western represenatative for the
coalition based in Pocatello, Idaho.
	Instead of beginning their own campaign tosway the White House,
however, Amador said his group would wait for the courts to rule.
	The Blue Ribbon Coalition and other groups also are hoping Clinton
will relinquish the Oval Office to Bush and that the new Republican
president will undo some, if not all, of Clinton's decisions. Yet Mayer
and other political scientists say undoing environmental protetions would
be an unlikely and unpopular action for a new president to take.
	The White House said last week that no new monument announcements
were pending. But Justin Kenney, a spokesman for Clinton's Council on
Environmental Quality, declined torule out future announcements.
	With that in mind, conservationists are doing what they can t win
the White House's attention.
	"People within the administration are showing interest in Siskiyou
Wild Rivers," said Barbara Ullian, conservation director for the Siskiyou
Project. "It's our opinion that it is being taken seriously."
	White House officials acknowledged receiving postcards promoting the
Siskiyou proposal. Supporters of a new southwest Oregon monument argue
that its rare plants, salmon and steelhead ahbitat\, and five designated
wild and scenic rivers make the area an ideal candidate.
	"This could (be) the first national monument dedicated to wild
rivers and wild salmon," Ullian said. "We just feel that the time to act
is now."
	Idaho conservationists feel just as passionately about the propsoed
Owyhee-Bruneau Canyonlands monument, stretching across 2.7 million acres
of sagebrush desert in Idaho's southwest corner.
	"We've been talking to the Interior Deparmtnet for two years
aboutthis," said Craig Gehrke, Idaho director for The Wilderness Society.
"They were frosty at first. But then we did a document justifying its
value. And then we started to do some polling. I know for a fact we're
still one of theplaces that they're looking at."
	In the past few weeks, Owyhee monument supporters have brought full-
page ads in Idaho newspapers, spots on National Public Radio, and
television commercials that aired election night. Leaders of six national
environmental groups, including the Sierra Club an the National Wildlife
Federation, sent a letter urging the president to make the Owyhee a high
	Stewards of the Range, a Boise-based private property rights group,
leads the opposition, and rural Owyhee County residents are wary of how a
monument designation would affect grazing, recreation and firewood
	Not to mention whether a monument would close back-country roads,
said Fred Grant, policy coordinator for the Stewards. "We'll do what we
can to neutralize the pressure tactics of these(environmental) groups.
(But) if Clinton decides to do this, there isn't any way we can stop it."

National monuments President CLinton might declare in coming weeks:

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska
- What's there: Caribou, polar bears, grizzlies, other Arctic wildlife.
- Threats: Oil drilling.

Siskiyou Wild Rivers, Oregon
- What's there: About 1 million acres encompassing the headwaters of
rivers flowing from the Siskiyou Range.
- Threats: Mining, logging, off-road vehicles.

Expanded Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, Oregon
- What's there: More than 50,000 acres in the area were designated a
national monument in June but it included on land in Oregon.
- Threats: Habitat fragmentation. Advocates want 11,000 acres in
California to be included.

Missouri Breaks, Montana
- What's there: Remote cliffs and badlands along the MIssouri River,
which formed part ofLewis and Clark's route west.
- Threats: Recreational use, development, grazing.

Owyhee-Bruneau Canyonlands, Idaho
- What's there: A wild and scenic river canyon popular with rafters; rare
plants, archeological sites.
- Threats: Grazing, off-road vehicles.

Hawaii outer isladns
- What's there: Coral reefs, marine mammals and atoll ecosystems in an
archipelago northwest ofmain Hawaiian islands.
- Threats: Climate change, fishing.

Comment by poster: Could these potential actions at the end of Clinton's
office be conciliatory toward the Kyoto Protocol? It sure *looks* that
way, especially in light of the proposal by the US that our forests be
treated as "carbon sinks" for creditation against polutions created here.
What do you think?

Posted as a courtesy by
Daniel B. Wheeler

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