Obama Set to Protect over 500,000 Acres

Conservationists and environmentalists have not been too kind to Obama the past few years due to their perceived lack of land protection policies from his administration. And in the wake of the recent State Department report on the Keystone XL Pipeline that anger has only grown. (Check out two recent blogs on the Keystone XL Pipeline at ETR here and here.) However, the Washington Post reported this past Sunday that Obama is set to protect two tracts of land from development in New Mexico and California under executive authority.

One of the two sites, the nearly 500,000-acre Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks region near Las Cruces, N.M., is twice as large as the largest national monument established by President Obama. The other site is about 1,600 acres on California’s central coast known as the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands.

Although Congress traditionally designates protection for public lands, presidents have used their authority under the 1906 Antiquities Act to set aside prized areas.

While this has been welcomed news by many in the environmental world, it has not been well received elsewhere.

But such a move is sure to anger some constituencies that rely on public lands for uses such as ranching, mining and motorized-vehicle recreation. They see any new protections as an encroachment on those activities.

The article goes on to explain the many issues at play over these two lands. It also mentions that the Obama administration is considering protecting the Boulder-White Clouds region, a 500,000 acre area in east-central Idaho.


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