The California Legislature has sent a strong message to the entire country today: national monuments are national treasures.
For Immediate Release
California Shows Support for National Monuments: Legislation Passed, Rally Held
SACRAMENTO (June 8, 2017) – In response to the Trump administration’s executive order to review 27 national monuments across the country, California legislators today passed Assembly Joint Resolution (AJR) 15, a bipartisan bill expressing support from the California Legislature for protecting national monuments in the state. Four Republican Assembly members and Republican Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) voted in favor of AJR 15.
Diverse constituents from communities throughout the state convened a Monuments for All Rally on the steps of the state Capitol to celebrate passage of the joint resolution and the 111th anniversary of the Antiquities Act, under which national monuments are designated.
In California, national monuments, parks, national forests and other protected public lands and outdoor spaces provide important opportunities for everyone to connect with our cultural and natural heritage. The monuments under review in California are: Giant Sequoia, Carrizo Plain, Cascade Siskiyou, San Gabriel Mountains, Berryessa Snow Mountain, Mojave Trails, and Sand to Snow national monuments.
The following statements were issued in support of the joint resolution on federal public lands:
“The California Legislature has sent a strong message to the entire country today: national monuments are national treasures,” said Kim Delfino, California program director for Defenders of Wildlife. “These landmarks preserve the stunning giant sequoia in the Sierras and 550 million-year-old trilobite fossils in the desert. They also protect rare wildlife like the desert tortoise, San Joaquin kit fox and California spotted owl. Assembly Members Aguiar-Curry and Wood and Senators Dodd and McGuire are champions for our national monuments and the Antiquities Act.”
“California’s natural wonders - our national monuments, coast, forests, parks, and open space - are our calling card to the world, providing important benefits to the state’s tourism and outdoor economy, climate resilience, environmental justice, and healthy communities,” said Elyane Stefanick, California program director for Conservation Lands Foundation. “On behalf of all of our grassroots partners throughout the state, we deeply appreciate this resolution, which affirms California’s commitment to protecting our public lands, and we commend Assemblymembers Aquiar-Curry and Wood, Senators Dodd and McGuire, and the many others who championed this measure on a bipartisan basis. We are very proud of California’s leadership here today.”
“Our national monuments are very special places. They tell diverse stories of Native Americans and more recent cultural history, geology, plants and wildlife and wildlife corridors,” said Bob Schnedier, senior policy director for Tuleyome. “They are a piece of the American landscape that has helped to define who we are as Americans. They are places for Americans to recreate and to reconnect with nature; and, they provide economic opportunities for many rural communities. We treasure these places and will fight to protect them. Thank you Assemblymembers Aquiar-Curry and Wood, and Senators Dodd and McGuire for championing our national monuments.”
“Today, on this 111th anniversary of Congress’ enactment of the Antiquities Act, we thank our California Assemblymembers and Senators for standing up for California and our seven national monuments that are under an unprecedented and ill-conceived attack by the Administration,” said Linda Castro of the California Wilderness Coalition. “Californians cherish their national monuments – from the 33 groves of giant sequoias in the Giant Sequoia National Monument, to the spectacular spring blooms of the Carrizo Plain, to the World War II training camps, world class rock collecting, and sacred Native American sites in the Mojave Trails National Monument. Today’s vote and rally are testaments to Californian’s strong desire to keep all of our national monuments intact and exactly as they are today.”
“National Parks Conservation Association applauds the California legislature for recognizing the tremendous values that our national monuments preserve, through their support of AJR 15,” said Ron Sundergill, senior director-Pacific Region for National parks Conservation Association. “Mojave Trails and Sand to Snow National Monuments, both under review by the Secretary of Interior, were created after nearly two decades of work by local communities and park supporters across the country, and preserve sacred and threatened water sources and critical wildlife corridors, and connect our desert national parks.”
“The Sierra Club thanks our State Legislators for showing their support for our unique publics lands,” said Sarah Friedman, senior campaign representative for the Sierra Club. “This is particularly fitting today, the 111th anniversary of the Antiquities Act. The Antiquities Act has been used many times by Presidents from both parties to protect incredible pieces of California's natural resources, including not only the seven National Monuments currently under threat--Giant Sequoia, Carrizo Plains, Berryessa Snow Mountain, San Gabriel Mountains, Cascade Siskiyou, Mojave Trails and Sand to Snow--but also other beloved areas like Death Valley and Joshua Tree. Sierra Club activists worked hard to protect these special places, and the fragile plants and animals which make their home within their boundaries, and will not stand idly by and watch protections for our states’ treasures be reduced and removed.”
“The Administration’s attack on our country’s national monuments hits us especially hard here in the Golden State because the wonders of nature are so tied to our identity as Californians,” said Gaylon Parsons, interim co-director of Audubon California. “These remarkable landscapes don’t just support an incredible diversity of birds and other wildlife, but they also provide an irreplaceable connection with nature for millions of Californians.”
“Californian’s love our national monuments,” said Ileene Anderson with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Our bipartisan legislators confirmed this today while warning the Trump administration to keep their hands off of our monuments.”
“When they start undoing national monuments, it’s a bad sign for public lands,” said Mike Sweeney, executive director of The Nature Conservancy. “Monument status is reserved for some of the most special places. Unraveling these protections is not in the public interest.”
Since it was signed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, the Antiquities Act has been used on a bipartisan basis by most U.S. presidents (16 total; eight Republicans and eight Democrats) to protect America’s most iconic natural, cultural and historic places.
National Monuments: Beloved and Beneficial
The public overwhelming supports public lands and oceans. A 2014 Hart Research poll showed that 90 percent of voters supported Presidential proposals to protect some public lands and waters as parks, wildlife refuges and wilderness. In the 2017 Conservation in the West poll, 80 percent supported keeping protections in place for existing monuments.
Numerous studies have shown that communities located near monuments and other protected public lands have stronger economies, and that the outdoor and recreational opportunities they provide increase residents’ quality of life, making areas near monuments more attractive to new residents, entrepreneurs, small businesses and investment. Outdoor recreation alone drives a $887 billion economy and supports 7.6 million jobs. The recent Headwaters Economics report reflects these trends with updated data from 17 areas across the West.
Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit Newsroom.Defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.