Law & Order

President Obama Expands National Monuments in Oregon and California

By Eric Snyder

President Obama used his power under the Antiquities Act to unilaterally expand Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in Oregon and the California Coastal National Monument. Despite opposition from local residents and elected officials, the designations increase the monuments by 42,000 acres and 5,000 acres, respectively. President Obama has now designated or expanded 34 national monuments and set aside 550 million acres of public lands and waters as monuments, national parks and wilderness.

However, the fate of some of these designations is unclear, as western leaders in Congress are asking President-elect Trump to reverse many of these designations. No president has ever reversed the designations of their predecessors to date, although Congress may overturn or reduce the size of national monuments through legislation.

SEMA supports legislation to curtail the president’s power to unilaterally designate national monuments by requiring their approval by Congress and the impacted state legislature(s). The issue is consequential since national monuments automatically prohibit new roads or trails for motorized vehicles and require a new land-management plan be drafted that could lead to more road closures.

For more information, contact Eric Snyder at