In advance of Senator Max Baucus’ meeting to be held in Malta on October 29, 2010, the Montana Wool Growers Association sent Senator Baucus requesting that the Senator be “proactive, rather than reactive” in his response to the Federal Department of Interior’s Treasured Landscape memorandum. Drafted by top Department of Interior officials, the Treasured Landscape documents contains a proposal to designate some 2.5 million acres of land in northeastern Montana as a National Monument, perhaps allowing the land to be used as a national bison range. The memorandum proposes that the National Monument designation be accomplished by bypassing congressional approval and using the President’s power under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to make such land designations.
In its letter, MWGA asked Senator Baucus to take six proactive steps to bring ‘accountability’ to the federal land management process and to protect Montana’s farm and ranching communities from another “stroke of the pen”, dark of the night Montana land grab. In 2001, then President Clinton crated the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument during the closing days of his administration using the Antiquities Act of 1906.
The six steps requested by MWGA of Baucus are as follows:
- Request that the appropriate Senate committees conduct oversight hearings on the “Treasured Landscape” memorandum and the recommendations contained therein, focusing on how the document came to be in existence, what special interest groups may have been involved in the drafting process, and how the Interior Department intended to carry out the land management designations contained therein;
- Request that the appropriate Senate committees hold field hearings in Montana so that they may hear first-hand how Montanans feel about additional national monument designations in this State and how such designations would hurt local farming and ranching families, businesses, and communities;
- Request that the General Accounting Office (GAO) conduct an investigation on, and author a report on, the economic impact the 2001 Clinton Missouri Breaks national monument designation has had on farming and ranching income, leases, and local tax revenue in the surrounding Montana communities;
- Propose legislation to reform/amend the Antiquities Act of 1906 so that the President cannot unilaterally make national monument designations (thereby reclaiming Congress’ Article I, Section 1 Constitutional legislative powers and ensuring the proper separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches);
- Request that the Appropriations Committee add a continuing rider to the Interior Appropriations Bill that prohibits any agency funding from being used to study or create new national monuments in Montana, unless such studies are authorized and requested by a member of congress or a congressional committee; and
- Invite President Obama to travel to Montana so that he may visit with, and hear personally from, your constituency about the Department of Interior’s Montana land management plans.
Dave Hinnaland of Circle, President of the MWGA, said “it is MWGA’s hope that the letter we sent today to Senator Baucus conveys to him how strongly MWGA’s membership opposes the BLM/s and Interior’s proposal to designate 2.5 million more acres in Montana as a national monument. We hope Senator Baucus will take immediate steps to protect communities in Phillips, Valley and other Montana counties from the economic hardship that will certainly be caused should this proposal be put into place”.
A copy of the letter sent by MWGA to Senator Baucus is AVAILABLE HERE.
Source: Montana Wool Growers Association
Posted by Haylie Shipp