NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Land Locked Up In National Monuments

January 11, 2001

President Clinton has turned more land in the continental U.S. into national monuments than any president since Teddy Roosevelt. Nearly all of them are in nine Western states and many local residents are anything but pleased by his action.

Most of the new monuments ban mining ventures, some will prohibit logging and some will ban off-road vehicles.

  • Since 1996, Clinton has established or expanded 13 national monuments -- and observers predict he will create eight more before he leaves office.
  • While they were carved out of federal land, monument status means millions of acres will remain untouched -- and locals fear tough restrictions on camping, driving and other activities in order to keep the lands in pristine condition.
  • Under law, Clinton was free to proceed without congressional approval.

With the new Republican administration coming into office, there is talk in Congress of bills to redraw monument boundaries in efforts to shrink their size.

It is unclear whether the new President Bush will be able to eliminate monuments -- because no president has ever tried. But Congress does have the power to abolish them and has done so several times.

Source: Traci Watson, "Residents Resent Edicts Creating Monuments," USA Today, January 11, 2001.


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