AP on new Monuments (VI, Buck Is. etc)

Jim Mccallum Jim.Mccallum at noaa.gov
Wed Jan 17 11:55:41 EST 2001

AP Washington
Clinton Safeguards 1 Million Acres

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Seeking to leave his mark on environmental
protection, President Clinton created seven new national monuments
Wednesday, preventing commercial use of more than 1 million acres of
federal land.

The sites are in Montana, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Idaho and the

''We believe that our future and our land, air and water are one, that
we must not only protect our historical treasures, but our natural
treasures as well,'' the president said.

The sites include Pompeys Pillar near Billings, Mont., a 150-foot
sandstone column where explorer William Clark carved his name in 1806
during his historic westward trek with Meriwether Lewis.

''Most of the landscape Lewis and Clark traversed nearly two centuries
ago has changed beyond recognition: forests cut, prairies plowed, river
dammed and cities built. That is the march of time,'' Clinton said.
''Still there are a few wild places left, rugged reminders of our rich
history and nature's enduring majesty. Because they are more important
than ever, after careful review and extensive public input, we protect
them today by establishing them as national monuments. ''

The announcement was made in the East Room of the White House where
President Jefferson and Lewis laid out maps and planned the expedition.
Clinton also posthumously promoted Clark from Army lieutenant to
captain, and gave the honorary ranks of sergeant to the expedition's
Shoshone interpreter Sacagawea and York, Clark's black servant.

The other new monuments are: Upper Missouri River Breaks along the
Missouri River in central Montana; Carrizo Plain in central California;
Sonoran Desert in south-central Arizona; Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks in
north-central New Mexico; and Minidoka in south-central Idaho, which
includes portions of a World War II-era Japanese-American internment

Designating these areas as national monuments affords them greater
protections from commercial uses. The new protections are expected to
include bans or restrictions on activities such as vehicle use, mining
and oil drilling.

Clinton earlier created 11 national monuments and expanded two others.
Those actions set new protections on 4.6 million acres of federal land.
The new monuments established Wednesday raise that total to at least 5.6
million acres.

President-elect Bush and Western Republicans have objected to Clinton's
earlier monument designations. They have said monument status was not
needed to protect the remote areas and could harm local economies.

''We are reviewing all eleventh-hour executive orders, rules and
regulations by the Clinton administration and we will make decisions
after President-elect Bush is sworn into office,'' Scott McClellan, a
spokesman for Bush-Cheney transition team, said Tuesday night after
learning about Clinton's expected action. ''The president-elect believes
in a balanced approach to our environment that is based on working
closely with states and local communities.''

Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., was more direct. ''On a lot of this he
(Clinton) will not use Congress,'' Burns told ABC News. ''What are we
here for?''

Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, said his group and
other conservation organizations would fight any attempts in Congress to
undo the monument designations.

The monuments are:

--Upper Missouri River Breaks, 377,000 acres along 149 miles of the
river in north-central Montana, the only major portion of the Missouri
River to be protected and preserved in its natural, free-flowing state.
It also is the premier segment of the Lewis and Clark National Historic

--Pompeys Pillar, 51 acres along the Yellowstone River, 28 miles east of
Billings, Mont. ''Pompeys Pillar is like a sandstone history book,'' the
White House said. ''On July 25, 1806, Clark carved his name and date
into the pillar's sandstone surface. The pillar also bears Native
American drawings and other historical inscriptions.'' Clark originally
named the rock after the nickname for the young son of their Shoshone
interpreter, Sacagawea.

--Carrizo Plain, 204,000 acres of rolling grasslands between San Luis
Obispo and Bakersfield, Calif. The area is home to wildlife, including
several endangered species, American Indian sacred sites and a portion
of the San Andreas Fault.

--Sonoran Desert, an example of untrammeled Sonoran Desert landscape 60
miles from Phoenix. The 486,000 acres encompass a desert ecosystem,
mountain ranges separated by wide valleys and a large saguaro cactus

--Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, light-colored cone-shaped formations in
north-central New Mexico near Santa Fe that are the products of
explosive volcanic eruptions that occurred between 6 million and 7
million years ago.

--Minidoka Internment National Monument, which includes portions of the
Minidoka Relocation Center, a World War II-era Japanese-American
internment camp in south central Idaho.

--U.S. Virgin Island Coral Reef National Monument, which includes more
than 12,000 acres of submerged lands within a three-mile belt off St.
John, including Hurricane Hole and areas north and south of St. John.
The area contains all the elements of a Caribbean tropical marine
ecosystem, officials said.

Clinton also expanded the Buck Island Reef National Monument, which now
includes more than 18,000 marine acres of submerged federal lands off
St. Croix within a three-mile belt around Buck Island. In the original
1961 proclamation, Buck Island and its adjoining shoals, rocks and
undersea coral reef formations were described as ''one of the finest
marine gardens in the Caribbean Sea.''

Clinton did not make the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska a
national monument despite pleas from environmentalists hoping to get
addition protection for the Arctic refuge, known commonly as ANWR, from
oil exploration.

Clinton called ANWR ''one of the last truly wild places on earth, the
Serengeti of the Americas'' and said it already is protected by law.

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