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article imageObama designates new monuments in Fla., Nev., Tex

By Nate Smith     Jul 11, 2015 in Politics
Washington - President Barack Obama on Friday declared three new national monuments in Texas, California and Nevada in a move protecting over a million acres of wilderness as well as prehistoric artifacts including Mammoth bones and rock carvings.
In Nevada, a monument was established at the historic Basin and Range site.
Over 330,000 acres will be preserved at Berryessa Snow Mountain, a site in Northern California.
A third monument declaration in Texas protects the Waco Mammoth site in Texas.
The trio of new monument declarations brings to 19 the number of monuments either created or enhanced since President Obama assumed office.
Presidents have broad authority to set aside and protect large swaths of historic, or ecologically significant, land as part of the 1906 Antiquities Act. That legislation qualifies the president to designate monuments and preserve land without congressional approval.
Remarking on the new monuments, the president touted all three sites for both their historic and ecological significance.
"All of them speak to some incredible history," the president said.
Environmental and land conservation groups hailed the move as a means to protect those areas from intrusive drilling, mining or oil well development.
Congressional Republicans were sharply critical of President Obama's monument declaration, calling the move a "land grab," and accusing him of ignoring the needs and wants of local residents.
More about Obama, President barack obama, land preservation, national monuments
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