Devils Tower was the nation's first national monument, established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. While the monument contains 1,347 acres, a leaked Interior Department memo identifies up to 13 million acres of new lands for potential national monument designation. Photo courtesy Colin Faulkingham.
Efforts to strip the Obama administration's authority to create new national monuments are gaining momentum in Congress as lawmakers continue to roll out bills aimed at protecting their states from what they view as a White House agenda to tie up large tracts of land.
Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) this morning became the latest to introduce a bill that would require congressional approval of any executive proposals to designate federal lands in the state as national monuments, according to an aide.
And on Tuesday, Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn (R) rolled out a nearly identical proposal to protect his state from unilateral designations.
"Colorado has a rich supply of natural energy that if used responsibly can provide high paying jobs and reduce energy costs," Lamborn said in a statement. "It seems President Obama and [Interior] Secretary Salazar would rather lock up our valuable Western resources than help lower energy costs and create jobs."
Rehberg and Lamborn joined lawmakers from Utah, Nevada and California who have written nearly identical bills in response to an Interior memo leaked last month identifying 14 sites for potential addition to the National Landscape Conservation System, which includes more than 27 million acres.