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President Obama Names Five New Sites National Monuments

Travelers Today      

Updated: Mar 23, 2013 11:06 AM EDT

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President Barack Obama will designate five historical sites as monuments on Monday.

Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico, First State National Monument in Delaware, Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio, Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland and San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington state will now be preserved as national landmarks.

Using the Antiquities Act, a law first used by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 to protect Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming, the President will add these five sites to the four monuments, (Cesar E. Chavez National Monument, Fort Monroe National Monument, Fort Ord National Monument and the Chimney Rock National Monument), he instated during his first term.

According to the New York Times, the new monuments extend from 1,000 acres in the San Juan Islands, Tubman and Young sites to 240,000 acres for the area in New Mexico.

The President has come under some scrutiny in the past, for giving gas and oil the front seat, putting land conservation and environmental issues on the backburner.

In February, Clinton's interior secretary Bruce Babbitt gave a speech that criticized Obama for not giving more attention to land protection, instead, creating large tracts for drilling.

"So far under President Obama, industry has been winning the race as it obtains more and more land for oil and gas," Babbitt said. "Over the past for years, the industry has leased more than 6 million acres, compared with only 2.6 million acres permanently protected."

Still, this move is a boon for both President and Vice President Joe Biden, who hails from Delaware-the location of the new monument, First State National Monument.

"This national monument will tell the story of the essential role my state played in the history of the United States," said Biden, in a public statement. "I couldn't be more proud to call Delaware home." 

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