House Natural ResourcesLetter: Members Caution White House on Monument Designations Exacerbating Drought, Wildfire Threats

Washington, D.C. – Today,  House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT), Subcommittee on Federal Lands Chairman Tom McClintock (R-CA), and Reps. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) and Greg Walden (R-OR) sent a letter to the White House about the consideration of national monument designations in California and Oregon that will exacerbate water shortages and increase threats of catastrophic wildfire. The designations include the proposed conversion of part of the Sierra Nevada National Forest into a national monument and expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.
 
“While any unilateral designation acted upon without local input or despite local opposition is deeply concerning, the proposed conversion of California’s Sierra Nevada National Forest into a national monument and the expansion of Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument are particularly concerning given severe water shortages regionally and increasing wildfire threats,” the four Congressmen state in the letter.
 
The letter references concerns raised by California water authorities regarding devastating effects posed to water supplies. It also references a recent study from the Nature Conservancy and a 2014 environmental assessment from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, both of which identified the areas being considered for the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument’s expansion at high risk to wildfire and in need of active management.
 
“The areas include vast acreage at high risk of catastrophic wildfire and in need of treatment,” the letter states. “A national monument designation would further restrict already abysmal federal management activities to improve forest health and treat high-risk, fire-prone areas.”
 
“Proposing controversial national monument designations is an utterly irresponsible use of taxpayer resources when many communities are suffering from severe drought and are at imminent risk of catastrophic wildfire that will destroy life and property,” the letter concludes. “Rather than act on these designations and make matters worse, we call upon you and your administration to work with these communities and Congress to alleviate federal barriers to greater forest health and water abundance.”
 
Click here to read the full letter.