November 26, 2014

Udall, Bennet ask Obama to consider Browns designation using Antiquities Act

In a letter to President Barack Obama, U.S. Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet asked the president to consider exercising executive authority to designate Browns Canyon as a national monument under the Antiquities Act, according to a press release.

In the letter, the senators said there is broad support in Chaffee County for legislation they cosponsored that would designate 22,000 acres of federally owned land a national monument.

“Over 200 local businesses, many land- and water-based recreation and sportsmen organizations, the Chaffee County Visitors Bureau, the Colorado River Outfitters Association, the Arkansas River Outfitters Association, the Vet Voice Foundation, the Hispanic Access Foundation and many others support protecting Browns Canyon,” the letter states.

“The town of Buena Vista and the city of Salida passed resolutions of support, and a majority of Chaffee County commissioners support the legislation with its carefully crafted conditions.”

Despite the local support, gridlock in Washington is preventing the bill from moving forward, which is why the senators are asking the president to consider using executive authority permitted under the Antiquities Act, according to the release.

The Antiquities Act, which was passed in 1906, authorizes the president to “declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the government of the United States to be national monuments.”

Udall introduced legislation in December for his proposed Browns Canyon National Monument, but the bill failed to make it to a vote. The bill, like others, will be wiped from the record if it is not passed before the new Congress takes office in January.

“While we remain committed to the legislative process, the gridlock in Congress has stymied this proposal and many others,” the Udall-Bennet letter stated.

The senators said the economic benefits are significant enough to warrant consideration from the president, and they invited members of the administration to visit Chaffee County and talk with residents about the importance of Browns Canyon.

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