This week, President Donald Trump signed an executive order ordering a review of all national monuments established under the Antiquities Act over the past 21 years. This includes the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument which President Obama established in October 2014.
Pasadena area Rep. Judy Chu, whose district includes much of the San Gabriel Mountains and who pressed Obama to declare them a national monument, released the following statement:
“When President Obama declared the San Gabriel Mountains a national monument, it immediately opened the door to new funding that has increased access to these beautiful mountains, streams, and forests, and improved staffing and safety on the trails. This is similar to the experience of communities around the country who have had their precious lands protected thanks to the Antiquities Act. Now, Trump is looking to upend all of that to once again put business interests over the interests of the people.
“His review threatens to take lands that have been set aside for public use and hand them over to corporations for mining and drilling. It shows a contempt for the environment and the millions of Americans who seek out outdoor activities in these protected lands every day. His announcement was also a staggering display of his classic double speak. Even as he begins the process to take land out of public control, he claimed he was returning the lands to the people.
“National monument designation takes years of work and engagement with the community to ensure that stakeholders like water companies, recreational users, environmentalists, fishers, hunters, and others will continue to be able to use these lands. The effort to designate the San Gabriel Mountains took over ten years, starting with my predecessor Hilda Solis. And, significantly, since the San Gabriels have been named a national monument, the community has had more input than ever. President Obama’s declaration included that management of the national monument require public input, which, in my district, has resulted in the creation of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Community Collaborative. This collaborative consists of 40 diverse members who discuss priorities and ensure the Forest Service hears from the public. This could all be ended thanks to Trump’s order.
“If Trump plans to move forward with this review, it must be done openly and transparently so that the public can remain engaged. And any attempt to remove these protections will have to go through Congress, where I will fight vigorously to protect our lands. Further, in the coming days, I will go further by reintroducing my legislation to establish the San Gabriel Mountains as a National Recreation Area and expand the existing monument boundaries, increasing the amount of land protected.”