Letter: National monuments

Published: Thursday, Dec. 20 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

As a former Bureau of Land Management director, I know Rep. Rob Bishop is entitled to his opinion about the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument proposal in my home state of New Mexico. These lands belong to all Americans. And we all deserve a say, wherever we live.

And just as Bishop cares about New Mexico, I care for America's Redrock wilderness in Utah. It's just a shame Bishop is so poorly informed about the proven economic benefits of protecting public lands.

When President Obama designates the Rio Grande del Norte area a Monument, it will better the local economy. Republican and Democratic presidents have used the Antiquities Act over 100 times to protect some of America's most treasured landscapes as national monuments.

Places like Arches and Zion National Parks, as well as the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument have benefited. National Monuments are useful tools to stop threats.

I'm saddened that Gov. Gary Herbert is attacking Utah's federal lands that belong to all of us, with his 20 lawsuits against the United States. I hope Obama will help stop that threat by designating the Greater Canyonlands Region as a national monument.

Jim Baca

Albuquerque, N.M.

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