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New Report Shows National Monuments Boost Local Economies

08 Apr 2016  |   Arian Rubio

Tags: Public Lands

A new BBC Research & Consulting report for Small Business Majority, a national small business advocacy organization, highlights the economic benefits of national monument designations by the Obama Administration. This report analyzed the economic impact of 10 national monuments protected by President Obama. These national monuments – including Basin and Range in Nevada, Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks in New Mexico, Berryessa Snow Mountain in California, San Juan Islands in Washington, and Browns Canyon in Colorado – have generated over $156 million annually for local communities near the monuments, including about $58 million in labor income and about 1,820 jobs annually.

On Wednesday, April 6, 2016, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) held a press conference in the Capitol with Rhett Buttle, President & Managing Director of Small Business Majority, and local business leaders from Nevada, New Mexico, and California. The senators and small business leaders emphasized the report’s findings that national monuments benefit economic growth and job creation.

Senators Reid and Heinrich, along with small business leaders

President Obama has used his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to protect 22 national monuments and monument expansions since taking office in 2009. The Obama Administration has protected more public lands and waters than any previous Administration has. These monument designations show President Obama’s dedication to conservation in the United States and the economic well-being of its citizens. The study shows that using the Antiquities Act strengthens the economies of their regions by stimulating local businesses and tourism.

Both Republican and Democratic presidents have used the Antiquities Act since its passage, and it remains an effective tool to protect culturally and ecologically important lands and waters in the United States. Protecting public lands also ensures that future generations can enjoy these iconic sites and continue contributing to local economies.

Designations under the Antiquities Act, however, are not limited to just natural wonders. Potential sites—such as the Sewall-Belmont House in Washington, D.C., an important site in the fight for women’s equality—can also showcase America’s diverse history and culture. As the report shows, these designations have the dual benefit of protecting America’s values and boosting economic livelihoods – a win-win scenario for everyone involved.

We applaud President Obama’s historic actions thus far and the Administration’s public lands legacy to date, and we look forward to the Administration’s continued conservation efforts in its final year.

Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in New Mexico, courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management

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