U.S. President creates Chimney Rock National Monument

Sunday, September 23, 2012

file photo of the new Chimney Rock National Monument
Image: 000jaw.

Friday saw U.S. President Barack Obama issue a proclamation making the south-western Colorado site of Chimney Rock a national monument. This the third national monument Obama has created, without an Act of Congress, using authority granted to the President under the 1906 Antiquities Act.

As the newest of country's 103 national monuments, Chimney Rock consists of the 4,726-acre (19 km2) Chimney Rock Archaeological Area of San Juan National Forest in Archuleta County, Colorado. It will continue being managed by the United States Forest Service. In Friday's proclamation, Obama said the site "incorporates spiritual, historical, and scientific resources of great value and significance".

U.S. Representative Scott Tipton introduced House Bill 2611 last year, attempting to designate the area a national monument; his bill passed in the House of Representatives, but stalled over election-year politics in the Senate. Fiscal conservatives in the Senate blocked the measure, fearing it could increase administrative costs. Supporters insist any additional costs would be negligible. The President's action has met with bipartisan support from within the swing state of Colorado; although national Republican leaders have criticised presidential use of the 1906 act, citing concerns that where mineral, or fossil fuel, resources may be present such action "locks them up".