The Denver Post reported this morning that President Barack Obama will designate Colorado’s Browns Canyon as a new national monument. But two members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation immediately criticized the decision and distorted the facts about the monument designation.
Jessica Goad, Advocacy Director at the Center for Western Priorities, issued the following statement in response:
“Today’s comments by Congressmen Lamborn and Buck are hypocritical, offensive, and out of touch with Coloradans. This moment designation was discussed and refined extensively, and enjoyed support from both Republicans and Democrats over the years. But Congress has failed to take action for over two decades. Instead of playing politics, these representatives should join in Colorado’s bipartisan tradition of protecting lands. If Congress won’t take action protect these deserving public lands, then the president should.”
Here are three ways that Rep. Lamborn and Rep. Buck misfired in their statements:
1) Rep. Lamborn has supported the designation of national monuments during previous presidential terms.
Lamborn stated that he was “outraged” by the Browns Canyon monument, but in 2007, when President George W. Bush was in office, Rep. Lamborn called for the creation of a Pikes Peak National Monument. “It would promote tourism,” Lamborn said at the time. “There are people who love to go around and visit the national monuments around the country and the national parks.”
2) Rep. Lamborn has had every opportunity to pass a bill in Congress.
While Rep. Lamborn today criticized the president for a “top-down, big-government land grab,” bipartisan legislation to protect Browns Canyon has been promoted by the local community but has languished in Congress since 1991. Rep. Lamborn’s predecessor—Representative Joel Hefley (R-CO)—and Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) both called for the protection of the area. In fact, Rep. Hefley this morning said, “the people of Chaffee County have been working together for many years to protect this scenic landscape.”
3) Rep. Buck’s comments about the president—calling him “King Barack”—are offensive and wrong.
Rep. Buck’s inappropriate comments today of “no more acting like King Barack” also fail to note that 16 presidents have used the Antiquities Act, including Republican President George W. Bush. Notably, Rep. Buck did not refer to President Bush as “King George” when Bush designated national monuments.
The Center for Western Priorities is a nonpartisan engagement center that serves as a source of accurate information, promotes responsible policies and practices, and ensures accountability at all levels to protect land, water, and communities in the American West.