Daines: Montanans Know Best How to Protect our Resources

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today worked to protect Montanans from the Obama administration’s unilateral efforts to designate large areas of land as national monuments.  

During a Committee on Energy and Natural Resources legislative hearing, Daines pressed the Obama administration to ensure that any monument designation secured the input of Montanans who live and work on the land and know best how to protect those resources. 

“Too often, unilateral designations completely ignore the needs of the local communities, farmers and ranchers, sportsmen and small business owners directly impacted by new monument designations,” Daines stated. “Any designation that has the potential to impact land management must be made locally, not by D.C. bureaucrats.”

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The bills considered in today’s hearing include: 

S. 437: Amends the Antiquities Act to require, before the President could designate a national monument, 1) Congressional approval of the proposed national monument; and 2) notice from the Governor of the State in which the proposed monument is located that the State legislature has enacted legislation approving the designation. The bill also prohibits the President from designating a national monument in marine waters unless: 1) the monument is specifically authorized by Congress; 2) the President has certified compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act; and 3) the Governor of each State located within 100 nautical miles of the proposed national monument submits notice that the State legislature has approved the proposed designation.

S. 1416: A bill to limit the President’s authority to reserve water rights in designating a national monument: Requires any water rights reserved associated with a Presidentially-created national monument be reserved only in accordance with state laws in which the water rights are located. 

Daines has long worked to protect Montana from administrative abuses of the Antiquities Act. 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. He also introduced an amendment to S.Con.Res 11 to establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to ensure states’ and local governments’ voices are heard in all new national monument designations under 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 supported 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.