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Members of Congress, Senators, and Local Officials Invite Sec. Zinke to Visit California National Monuments Before Completing Review

August 18, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), joined by other Members of Congress, both California Senators, and local officials across California, sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke inviting them to visit California’s National Monuments before completing the government’s review. The signers of the letter all represent areas that include or border National Monuments whose borders may be shrunk or removed  by Sec. Zinke’s review. Rep. Chu released the following statement:  

“President Trump’s broad review of National Monuments is an obvious gift to mining interests at the expense of community interests. It’s clear he does not understand the importance of these monuments to park poor areas like Los Angeles County, or how they benefit local businesses who profit from increased visitors. He also based his attack on these monuments by mistakenly claiming the communities never had a say. That could not be further from the truth. It is our hope that Secretary Zinke accept our invitation to visit these monuments and understand just what makes them so special to the communities they serve.”

The text of the letter is below and can be found online here.

August 18, 2017


Secretary Ryan Zinke
Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20240

Dear Secretary Zinke,

As elected officials from California serving diverse communities benefitting from monuments at the congressional, state, and local levels, we write to invite you to listen to the residents of California and unequivocally safeguard the seven California National Monuments currently under your review by declaring a recommendation of no change, as you have done already for several other monuments. We also urge you to visit these monuments prior to submitting your final recommendations on August 24, 2017.

Throughout the national monument review comment period, Californians repeatedly requested that you come to visit the places under review and meet the communities who have for years enjoyed these lands and worked to protect them, keep them in public hands, and keep them accessible. These invitations have thus far gone unanswered.  Today, on behalf of our residents, we invite you once more to visit our state, meet face to face with the communities who love and protect our treasured landscapes before making a recommendation that might reduce or revoke monument status.

As the state with the largest population, the largest economy, and the most national monuments under your review, Californians have much to lose by any changes to these designations, for which communities have invested a great deal of time, energy, passion, and resources, and are now generating vital economic benefits.  According to a recent report by the Outdoor Industry Association, the recreation economy in California alone, fueled by places like the national monuments under review, generates nearly 700,000 jobs, over $30 billion in wages, over $6 billion in state and local taxes that go right back into our communities, and $92 billion in spending, all of which help keep the U.S. economy strong.

Californians overwhelmingly supported the original designations of these monuments, and continue to overwhelmingly support preserving our national monuments as they were designated.  Diverse communities and key stakeholders including veterans, Native American tribes, faith groups, small businesses, hunters and anglers, water agencies, outdoor enthusiasts, and many others have taken part in open, public processes - as mandated by law and faithfully executed - to voice their support.  They have compellingly shared their unique perspectives and provided data and information to justify why each national monument is indeed worthy of protection, and what each of these special landscapes mean to them.

We again urge you to safeguard California’s National Monuments - Berryessa Snow Mountain, Carrizo Plain, San Gabriel Mountains, Giant Sequoia, Cascade-Siskyou, Mojave Trails, and Sand to Snow - as designated, and to visit the state in order to see these national treasures through the eyes of the people who have dedicated themselves to their protection.

Thank you for considering this request.

Judy Chu
United States Representative

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

Kamala D. Harris
United States Senator

Grace F. Napolitano
United States Representative

John Garamendi
United States Representative

Salud O. Carbajal
United States Representative

Jared Huffman
United States Representative

Mike Thompson
United States Representative

William W. Monning
California Senate Majority Leader
State Senator, 17th District

Anthony Portantino
California State Senator, 25th District

Catharine Baker
California Assembly Member, 16th District

Hannah-Beth Jackson
California State Senator, 19th District

Ben Allen
California State Senator, 26th District

Heidi Harmon
Mayor, San Luis Obispo, CA

Joan Harmann
Santa Barbara County Supervisor, 3rd District

Das Williams
Santa Barbara County Supervisor, 1st District