Obama Monument Update

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Date: 05/07/2010

OBAMA NATIONAL MONUMENT UPDATE
REQUEST FOR RECORDS VOTED DOWN
TRANSPARENCY IN OBAMA ADMINISTRATION IN QUESTION


Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber,

On Wednesday, May 5, 2010, the House Natural Resources Committee voted down (by a margin of 20-22) a motion offered by Ranking Member Doc Hastings (WA) to favorably report H. Res. 1245 out of Committee. The Resolution is an attempt by Congress to require the Secretary of the Interior to turn over specific information related to potential National Monument designations.

Interestingly, the Department of the Interior (DOI) delivered nearly 400 pages of emails to the Committee less than 24 hours before it was scheduled to vote on the Resolution. However, the agency withheld some 2,016 pages of additional documents directly related to potential Monument designations.

The controversy began with the discovery of an internal DOI document labeled "NOT FOR RELEASE" which details plans for 14 new or expanded national monument designations, totaling some 13 million acres of public and private land.

Rep. Hastings, who has led a bi-partisan effort to require the DOI to disclose information said: “When the federal government is discussing the lockup of 13 million acres of public lands with the stroke of the President’s pen, the American people have a right to know what their government is doing. I encourage my Democrat colleagues to help the Obama Administration adhere to their claims of openness and transparency by bringing this resolution to a vote on the floor of the full House,” said Hastings. “If this Resolution is not brought to the House floor in a timely manner, I promise this Committee will see plenty of similar Resolutions until the Department of Interior reveals what they are hiding.”

House rules provide that the Democrat Majority on the Committee had 14 legislative days to report the Resolution of Inquiry or it would have been eligible to be brought to the Floor of the House of Representatives for a vote as a Privileged Resolution. A future Floor vote on the Resolution is now entirely subject to the will of the Majority.

Meanwhile, legislation that would remove a President's unilateral authority to designate National Monuments is moving slowly. The bill is titled the Preserve Land Freedom For Americans Act of 2010 (HR 4996) is sponsored by North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx. HR 4996 was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources on April 13, 2010. BRC is encouraging our members to contact their Representatives and encourage them to co-sponsor HR 4996 and work for its passage into law.

We will continue to keep you updated on this and other important issues.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact BRC.

Brian Hawthorne Ric Foster
Public Lands Policy Director Public Lands Department Manager
208-237-1008 ext 102 208-237-1008 ext 107

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