Letter to Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior - Plan to Designate National Monuments Without Congressional Approval


Representative Steve Daines (R-MT), Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) and Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ), along with 31 of their colleagues, today sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell regarding plans to designate national monuments on public lands without congressional approval.

"Any action that has the potential to impact land management must be locally driven, and not spearheaded in Washington by the stroke of a President's pen," Daines stated. "It is deeply troubling that the Administration is willing to move forward unilaterally on these important decisions, without engaging in productive and transparent conversations with community members, elected officials, and key stakeholders. The Montanans affected most by these designations deserve to have a say in how their land will be managed."

The bipartisan letter requests the list of "important places" the U.S. Department of the Interior has deemed necessary for conservation and protection with the establishment of a monument.

Jewell referenced the Administration's intention to unilaterally designate national monuments in a speech at the National Press Club on October 31, 2013.

Full text of letter:

November 13, 2013

The Honorable Sally Jewell
Department of the Interior
1849 C St, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20240

Dear Secretary Jewell,

Like you, we are committed to appropriate conservation and multiple-use management of our public lands. As elected officials, we are working closely with our constituents on efforts to improve public land management--which often include conservation designations. Given the gravity and permanence of national monuments, we believe that should these decisions be necessary, they should be made by Congress in an open, transparent, and public manner using extraordinary caution.

On October 31, 2013, during remarks at the National Press Club regarding the Antiquities Act, you said, "if Congress doesn't step up to act to protect some of these important places that have been identified by communities and people throughout the country, then the president will take action…there's no question that if Congress doesn't act, we will."

In light of this statement, we are requesting a comprehensive list of the "important places" you reference in your comments that the administration is considering for national monument designations, along with a proposed timeline. Additionally, we are seeking clarification of whether designations are being considered only for proposed national monuments or whether there are other land-use proposals the administration would consider making monuments absent Congressional action. We also request that the administration notify all members of a state's congressional delegation at least 90-days in advance of designating a monument within that particular state.

We believe that these requests are consistent with your repeated commitment to openness, transparency, and cooperation with local and state officials in the context of land management decisions. Especially in consideration of past controversial usage of the Antiquities Act, your statements at the National Press Club have the potential to unravel the good work done by many to develop bottom-up land management solutions. Clarification of those statements is therefore critical to the continued success of these grassroots initiatives.

We want to reaffirm our belief that public lands designations should originate in local communities where the concept enjoys broad support from elected officials, stakeholders, and other impacted individuals. Thank you for your attention to this matter and we look forward receiving your response in the near future.


Senator Dean Heller
Representative Paul Gosar
Representative Steve Daines
Senator Mike Enzi
Senator Jeff Flake
Representative Rob Bishop
Senator Mike Crapo
Representative Joe Heck
Senator John Barrasso
Representative Mark Amodei
Senator James Risch
Representative Jason Chaffetz
Senator Mike Johanns
Representative Kevin Cramer
Senator Mike Lee
Representative Steve Pearce
Senator Lisa Murkowski
Representative Trent Franks
Senator Orrin Hatch
Representative Don Young
Senator John Thune
Representative Mike Coffman
Senator Tom Coburn
Representative Kevin McCarthy
Senator Tom Coburn
Representative Kevin McCarthy
Representative Raúl Labrador
Representative Doug LaMalfa
Representative Louie Gohmert
Representative Lynn Westmoreland
Representative Greg Walden
Representative David Schweikert
Senator David Vitter
Senator Tim Scott