Salazar: No Plans for New National Monument in Montana

The Flathead Beacon

by Kellyn Brown

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar appeared before a Senate committee that included Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., Tuesday and answered questions regarding the Antiquities Act. He denied accusations that the Obama Administration planned on creating national monuments in Western states that critics contend are veiled “land grabs.”

A leaked memo from the Interior Department, first reported by the New York Times, found that 14 sites were listed as possible monuments, including 2.5 million acres in northeastern Montana for a possible new national bison range.

Watch the video of Tester's exchange with Salazar here.

Following Salazar’s testimony, Tester (through a press release) referred to potential national monument designations as “false rumors.”

Salazar’s testimony, however, did little to appease Congressman Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., who has introduced legislation that would require congressional approval of any new national monument designations in Montana. In a prepared statement, he said:

“Public input is certainly important, but it’s not enough if that input is ignored or comes after a policy has been written or implemented. When it comes to executive action, we’ve already seen this administration shoot first and ask questions later, and now that the sights are on millions of acres in Montana, the responsible action is to reassert congressional oversight, just like Wyoming has already done.”