Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has joined nine other Republican Senators in a letter to President Obama expressing alarm at reports that the president is considering politically motivated monument designations and urging against unilaterally designating any areas as national monuments. Consistently, the purpose of designating land as a national monument has been to protect important historical areas.
"Recently, reports have surfaced that the President is being encouraged to use his authority to designate federal lands as national monuments to prevent these lands from being used for oil and gas exploration," Crapo said. "I encourage the President to remember that the modest economic growth the country has seen over the last five years has come from oil and gas production on private and state-owned lands. Further, this production has helped lower energy costs and our dependence on foreign sources of oil. The Antiquities Act of 1906 should not be used for political purposes and I would strongly encourage the President not to abuse this authority.
"These reports further prove that the U.S. Senate should adopt the National Monuments Act of 2013, a bill I am co-sponsoring," added Crapo. "This bill would require Congressional approval of monument designations as well as ensure valuable public input from local stakeholders."
Leading the letter were Senators David Vitter (R-Louisana) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Crapo co-signed the letter with Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dean Heller (R-Nevada), Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).