More than a dozen pristine landscapes, wildlife habitats and scenic rivers in 11 Western states, some larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined, are under consideration by the Obama administration to become America's newest National Monuments -- a decision the administration can make unilaterally without local input or congressional approval.
According to internal Department of Interior documents leaked to a Utah congressman and obtained exclusively by Fox News, the mostly public lands include Arizona deserts, California mountains, Montana prairies, New Mexico forests, Washington islands and the Great Basins of Nevada and Colorado -- totaling more than 13 million acres.Many of the areas under consideration by the Obama administration are known to house rich deposits of oil and natural gas. Given the nation's growing dependence on foreign sources of energy, it seems like it'd be a pretty bad move for the president to use his executive power to tie up these lands via the Antiquities Act--a measure generally intended to preserve historic landmarks.
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