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PNS Weekend Newscast - August 19th, 2017 


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Californians Rally to Support Their National Monuments

The Mojave Trails National Monument is one of seven in California being reviewed by the U.S. Interior Department for downsizing, or to have its monument status canceled altogether. (Bryn Jones)
The Mojave Trails National Monument is one of seven in California being reviewed by the U.S. Interior Department for downsizing, or to have its monument status canceled altogether. (Bryn Jones)
June 7, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Supporters of California's parks and national monuments are to rally Thursday in Sacramento, planning to celebrate the expected passage in the state Senate of a resolution to keep those wild places intact.

The Trump administration is calling for a review of all national monuments designated since 1996 that comprise more than 100,000 acres, putting them at risk of being downsized or rescinded.

Eric Dean, who co-owns Rimrock Ranch, a motel near the Sand to Snow National Monument established last year by President Obama, said his business has benefited greatly from the monument designations in the California desert.

"Achieving monument status achieves protection for the community and our way of life - water, air quality, wildlife - and it also establishes a destination for travelers," Dean said. "People plan vacations around those places. You know, that level of awareness really helps us in a number of different ways."

Seven of California's 22 national monuments are under review by the U.S. Department of Interior, including Sand to Snow, Mojave Trails, San Gabriel Mountains, Cascade-Siskiyou, Carrizo Plain and Berryessa Snow Mountain.

Dan Smuts, a senior director at The Wilderness Society's Pacific Region, said the administration has unleashed an all-out assault on public lands.

"This Trump administration has made no secret of their desires to open up substantial portions of our federal land to oil and gas, to mining, to logging operations," Smuts said, "and that emphasis continues with their review of the national-monument designations."

The rally, which is to start at 10 a.m. on the north Capitol steps, also will commemorate the 111th anniversary of the Antiquities Act, a law signed by President Theodore Roosevelt and used by presidents - both Republican and Democrat - to create national monuments and protect America's natural treasures.

The text of the legislation, Assembly Joint Resolution 15, is online at leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA