Public Land in San Bernardino & Riverside Counties as National Monuments
D.C., Friday February 12th___ Representative Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley)
issued the following statement after President Obama created three new monuments
in the California desert:
Cook’s Bill-HR 3668 California Minerals, Off-Road Recreation &
we saw from the President’s unilateral
designation of the San Gabriel National Monument in late 2014, many concerns
about fire protection, environmental effects, and necessary funding to ensure
proper stewardship of the land were not taken into consideration. In
creating the San Gabriel National Monument through executive order rather than
properly, through Congress, this area has experienced greater environmental
strain due to greater public usage.
With the US Forest Service
unable to provide any additional resources, the San Gabriel National Monument
now suffers from higher amounts of graffiti, trash, and misuse. These so-called
“pro-environment” monument designations – lacking local support and
Congressional buy-in – actually result in environmental degradation. It’s a
simple fact in the San Gabriel National Monument, well documented by the Los
Angeles Times. We risk the same outcome with these new designations.
"Make no mistake about it, I’m
committed to preserving our majestic landscapes for future generations to
enjoy. That’s why I’ll continue working hard on my own legislative solution, HR
3668, the California Minerals, Off-Road Recreation, and Conservation Act.
My bill balances recreation, environmental concerns, and economic use in a
sensible way. It addresses the needs of off-highway vehicle users and
conservationists, while protecting economically vital mineral sites and
cultural heritage sites. It’s also the product of local community and
stakeholder outreach, which is why it has the support of the vast majority of
local cities. The guiding principle for
public land decisions must be local input.
"There are two legislative proposals currently moving through the United
States House of Representatives and the United States Senate. My bill has
received a hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee. The other bill
has received a hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
The President should have given the legislative process an opportunity to work.
Instead, we’re given a cheap solution that won’t accomplish its goals as
"I’ve never found people in Washington to know better than residents of
San Bernardino County when it comes to local land issues. This time, special
interest groups hijacked these monument designations and ignored the wishes of
those who live closest and use the land most often. Despite this setback, I’m
going to continue working to provide real protection for our public lands.
Today’s action cannot be the final word on our desert."