Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) issued the following statement after President Obama designated a new national monument in Dona Ana County, New Mexico.
For Immediate Release
Date: May 21, 2014
Contact: Russell Solomon
Gosar Statement on New Obama Monument Designation
Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) issued the following statement after President Obama designated a new national monument in Dona Ana County, New Mexico:
"This new national monument designation is yet another example of President Obama overstepping his authority and blatantly disregarding the rule of law. Congress gave presidents the ability to designate national monuments in order to protect small, specific areas of land, not large swaths of a state. It is unacceptable for a president to abuse this authority and I will do everything in my power to rein in this practice and fight this overreach.
"In addition, by creating this monument, the President ignored the very real possibility that it will endanger the lives of American citizens. Since the Border Patrol is not allowed to patrol national monument lands, this monument will become a safe haven for the smuggling of drugs and illegal immigrants, endangering the lives of countless people. The President's apparent disregard for the safety of this country's citizens is simply shocking."
Presidents derive their authority to unilaterally designate national monuments from the 1906 Antiquities Act, the intent of which was to give presidents the ability to protect small, specific areas of land with historic or scientific value on an emergency basis. Since its passage, however, presidents of both political parties have gone beyond the Act’s original intent and have designated national monuments that limit the use of and access to large areas of land.
Currently, the Antiquities Act does not require any involvement for national monument designations from the public, nor from local, state or federal elected officials. H.R. 1459, of which Rep. Gosar is an original co-sponsor and which recently passed the House of Representatives, would change the law to allow the public and elected officials to provide their input on potential national monument designations. Specifically, this legislation requires compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which necessitates Congressional approval in certain circumstances, and ensures private property can’t be included in the designation without written consent from the owners. NEPA is already statutorily required for most public-land-use decisions. To read Rep. Gosar's press release about his recent vote for H.R. 1459, click HERE.