Accessibility links

Breaking News

Obama Designates 3 New National Monuments

A picnic area is seen along Lake Berryessa with parts of California's newest national monument, Berryessa Snow Mountain, in the background, July 10, 2015.

President Barack Obama designated three new U.S. national monuments Friday, making those areas off-limits to development, mining, and oil and gas drilling.

The new monuments include Berryessa Snow Mountain in California, home to a wide variety of plant and animal life; Waco Mammoth in Texas, where archaeologists have found the remains of 24 mammoths believed to be at least 65,000 years old; and Nevada's Basin and Range, home to irreplaceable rock art dating back 4,000 years.

The White House said these three monuments encompassed more than 1 million hectares (2.47 million acres). It said the designations would boost the local economies through tourism and related business.

So far, Obama has declared 19 public lands national monuments — more than any other U.S. president — protecting more than 260 million hectares.

The Antiquities Act of 1906 gives presidents the authority to declare public lands off-limits to development. Some critics call it government seizure.

The act is a lasting legacy of President Theodore Roosevelt, a renowned environmentalist and lover of the outdoors.