Pulling Another Babbitt Out of the Hat
U.S. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt on Friday recommended the creation of a new national monument near the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona and the expansion of an existing monument in Idaho. The proposed Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona would protect 293,000 acres, including a number of scenic cliffs and canyons; the expansion in Idaho would add 661,000 acres to the 54,440 already in the Craters of the Moon National Monument. President Clinton has acted on all of Babbitt’s previous monument recommendations, protecting nearly 4 million acres in the West by creating or expanding 10 monuments. Under the Antiquities Act of 1906, the president can create monuments without congressional approval, much to the chagrin of conservative Western politicians.