Legislator aims at monuments

Legislator aims at monuments

U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, a Utah Republican, is calling on Donald Trump to reverse President Obama’s designations of national monuments across the country.

President Obama designated two national monuments in Nevada—Tule Springs Fossil Beds on Dec. 19, 2014, and Basin and Range on July 10, 2015.

Tule Springs, a 22,650-acre site in Clark County, is on the northern edge of the Las Vegas Valley. Basin and Range is a 704,000 acre site in Lincoln and Nye counties, most of it remote mountains and valleys. It encircles a mile and a half-long sculpture, “City” by Michael Heizer, which is privately owned and closed to the public.

The Center for Biological Diversity responded that there is no legal authority to strip national monument designation from a site.

“Fortunately there are laws that protect places like national monuments—Rep. Bishop apparently doesn’t understand them or doesn’t think they should apply to his ideology,” said CBD public lands director Randi Spivak in a prepared statement.

Bishop, who chairs the House Committee on Natural Resources, told Politico, “It’s never been done before and that’s why people are saying, ‘You can’t do it.’ Of course you can do it. It’s always been implied.”

The most recently designated monuments are the headquarters of the National Women’s Party in D.C., Mojave Trails in California, Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine, Castle Mountains, California, Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine in international waters 100 miles off the coast of Massachusetts, Sand and Snow in California, and the Stonewall Inn in New York. Already-existing Papahanaumokuakea Marine in Hawaii was enlarged this year.

EcoWatch claimed decommissioned national monuments would end up with Bishop’s campaign contributors. It reported, “Since 1999, Bishop has accepted $452,610 from oil, gas and coal interests, according to Dirty Energy Money. More than 10 percent of that has come from the coal-friendly National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, which has been leading the fight against the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. ExxonMobil, Chevron, Tesoro and bankrupt Arch Coal round out his top-five contributors.”