Supes oppose Obama's efforts
The Colusa County Board of Supervisors have taken steps to oppose efforts by President Barack Obama to designate the Berryessa Snow Mountains as a national monument.
Supervisor Gary Evans said the president's intent to designate the region, which stretches from the lowlands of Putah Creek, below Lake Barryessa in Napa County, across remote stretches of Cache Creek, and up to the peaks of Goat Mountain and Snow Mountain in Western Colusa County, would replace multiple-use management with a more restrictive management plan that resembles a national park or wilderness area.
"The president wants to do this under the Antiquities Act, but it does not follow the letter of the law," Evans said.
The Antiquities Act of 1906 gave presidents authority to declare national monuments — primarily as an emergency authority — to protect small, highly sensitive cultural and historical areas that might be threatened or damaged before Congress could act to protect them.
President Bill Clinton used the 1906 Antiquities Act to create the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah without any public input or consent of Congress, county officials said.
Evans said the Snow Mountain area already contains three wilderness areas, and everything considered of cultural or historic interest has already been identified and protected.
The Board on Tuesday approved a resolution stating the county's opposition to using the Antiquities Act to designate the region as a national monument that, over time, could have a negative impact on accessing the land for recreation and other uses, as well as infringe on the rights of private landowners to access their property.
Supervisor Kim Dolbow-Vann, who is in Washington D.C. this week to speak on this and several other issues that affect Colusa County, met with federal lawmakers Monday to impart the county's opposition to the designation.
The resolution, which Dolbow-Vann will sign, will be sent to U.S. Representative Wally Herger and U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, who rallied in late February for an amendment that would have blocked the Obama administration's plans to use the Antiquities Act to designate over 10 million acres in nine Western states, including California, as national monuments without congressional approval.
The amendment was defeated by a 58-38 margin.
"America's public lands belong to the people, not to government officials and environmental extremists," Hatch said in a statement following the vote. "Decisions about Cedar Mesa, the San Rafael and other potential monument sites should be made in consultation with state and local officials, not behind closed doors in Washington and without any public input."
According to the Resolution adopted by the county Tuesday, an 800,000 acre conservation area with "one size fits all" regulations is contrary to Colusa County's concept of "home rule."
Evans said the land use policy on private lands is within the regulatory jurisdiction of Colusa County and not the jurisdiction of state and federal agencies.
Contact Susan Meeker at 458-2121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.