WATCH: Cantwell, Colleagues Champion Protection Of Public Lands And Coastal Waters

President’s Executive Order Threatens To Exploit Lands Held In Public Trust

April 27, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) today condemned the Trump administration’s executive order that would threaten more than 50 of our country’s iconic National Monuments.

Sen. Cantwell said, “In the 111 years since the Antiquities Act was created and signed into law by Teddy Roosevelt, 16 Presidents have used this to dedicate over 150 national monuments. Over 100 years of conservation is proposed to be undone in just a few days by President Trump.”

Senator Cantwell addressed the Senate regarding the President’s unlawful executive order that would potentially open up thousands of acres of public lands and coastal shores to development.

Yesterday the President released an executive order that could unlawfully roll back the National Monument status for some our country's most treasured public lands, which were protected to preserve significant historic, cultural, and scenic resources and to provide for public recreation and enjoyment.

Washington has two national monuments that potentially could be affected: Hanford Reach, which protects the last undammed stretch of the inland Columbia River and the San Juan Islands national monument, which protects important public access to one of our nation's premier recreational areas.

This week, the Outdoor Industry Association released a new report on the economic contributions of the recreation economy. Today, the recreation industry creates $887 billion in consumer spending every year. That’s up more than $200 billion (from $646 billion) the last time this study was conducted five years ago.

Sen. Cantwell said, “Outdoor recreation economy is now over $800 billion of annual revenue and dwarfs what the oil and gas industry represent as an economy of the future. In fact, this industry sector is on par to compete with other large sectors of our economy, the financial services sector and the health care sector.”

Speaking about President Trump's Executive Order Sen. Cantwell continued, “He truly does not understand the Antiquities Act nor does he appreciate the bold leadership of all of those presidents, both Democrats and Republicans, over a period of time, who have used this authority in the appropriate ways to preserve for all Americans’ future and those in the past who have enjoyed these beautiful places and to preserve access to public lands."

"So why are we taking away the very tool that has launched so much outdoor activity in a burgeoning job economy with 7 million outdoor industry workers? Why are we taking away what has been the priority and designation of past presidents and trying to return them because someone doesn't understand what the Antiquities Act is all about?”

Watch the video of Sen. Cantwell’s floor statement here.