Daines: Montanans’ Voices Must Be Heard in Monument Designations

Daines introduces amendment to help protect Montanans from Obama administration’s efforts to unilaterally designate new national monuments without local support

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Steve Daines is fighting to protect Montana from the Obama administration’s efforts to unilaterally designate large swaths of land as national monuments, without securing local input and state support.

Last night, Daines introduced an amendment to S.1, legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, that would express the sense of Congress that all future national monument designations should be subject to consultation with local governance and the approval of the Governor and legislature of states in which designation would occur.

“As a fifth generation Montanan and avid sportsman, I know firsthand how important Montana’s lands and resources are to our economy and our way of life. I also know how important it is for Montanans to play a strong role in the management of these precious parts of our state,” Daines stated on the Senate floor last night. “Any bill or designation that has a potential to impact land management must be locally driven, not spearheaded in Washington. This amendment ensures that the people affected most by these designations have a seat at the table and their voices are heard.”

Video of Daines’ remarks may be downloaded here. Video may be viewed here.

Daines’ efforts have received strong support from Montanans who are concerned about the Obama administration making monument designations along the Keystone XL pipeline’s path.

“This is an important amendment — especially in light of the Bureau of Land Management listing parts of Phillips County that are in the Keystone XL pipeline’s path as a prospective national monument designation, which would threaten the future of the project,” stated Phillips County Commissioner Lesley Robinson. “Decisions of this magnitude should be locally driven and made from the bottom up.”

Daines’ amendment is expected to be considered by the full Senate next week.

Daines has long worked to protect Montana from administrative abuses of the Antiquities Act. In the House, Daines introduced the Montana Land Sovereignty Act to prohibit the establishment of new national monuments in Montana without Congressional review and approval. Daines also co-sponsored the Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation of National Monuments Act, which requires that the President secure public participation and local support before any new monuments are declared.