Senators Feinstein & Boxer Introduce Bill to Make Coast Dairies a National Monument

Aug. 5, 2015–Today Sen. Barbara Boxer – and co-sponsor Sen. Dianne Feinstein – as expected introduced a bill (see link below to the full text of the bill) to add Coast Dairies, and five small areas around California, to the California Coastal National Monument.

The news release they sent out, below, was telling, emphasizing how monument status would be “helping boost tourism”. It also claims, falsely in the case of Coast Dairies, that it would be “permanently protecting these pristine areas.” As we know, Coast Dairies is already permanently protected by deed restrictions and a Coastal Development Permit. It’s disappointing to see these two staunch advocates for environmental causes (Boxer in particular) not bothering to study in depth the implications of national monument status—many more visitors—on the environment, animals and plants, underfunded local public services like police and fire, traffic and the surrounding communities, and just bending to the will of the monument advocates.

Here’s their news release: “Washington, D.C. August 5, 2015 – U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein (both D-CA) today introduced the California Coastal National Monument Expansion Act, legislation that would provide lasting protection to six majestic sites along the California coast by including them in the California Coastal National Monument. This expansion of the National Monument would provide visitors with greater access to the coast, improve management of these areas, and highlight the historic, cultural, scientific and ecological significance of each of these public lands.

Senator Boxer said, “This legislation would create a new network of spectacular public lands up and down the Pacific coast, boosting tourism in our communities and permanently protecting these pristine areas for current and future generations to enjoy.”

Senator Feinstein said, “The California coast is a national treasure and is highly worthy of preserving for future generations. This bill will add more than 6,200 acres to the existing California Coastal National Monument, safeguarding the pristine land and helping boost tourism and recreation activities in local communities.”

“Expanding the California Coastal National Monument would provide greater access to this national treasure and ensure that these beautiful landscapes along California’s coast are preserved for all to enjoy,” said Congressman Lois Capps (D-CA 24). “I am particularly pleased that Senator Boxer’s legislation would redesignate Piedras Blancas Light Station as a National Monument, an honor befitting this outstanding landmark, which is teeming with historic importance and natural beauty.”

The expansion would cover five onshore sites, including the Lost Coast Headlands (440 acres), Trinidad Head (13 acres), and the Lighthouse Ranch (8 acres) in Humboldt County. The Cotoni-Coast Dairies in Santa Cruz County (5,780 acres) and Piedras Blancas in San Luis Obispo County (20 acres) would also be included in the California Coastal National Monument. Additionally, the expansion would cover one offshore site – a group of small rocks and islands off the coast of Orange County; the Coast Guard once considered these properties for lighthouses, but the agency now agrees they should be permanently protected as part of the National Monument.

These areas feature stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, historic lighthouses and a variety of diverse ecological habitats along the coast. For more information on each of these sites, see Senator Boxer’s full statement on the legislation here.

The new designation would permanently protect each of these areas from development [Coast Dairies is already permanently protected from development.—Editor] and would ensure stronger protections for a diverse array of wildlife that call the areas home, many of which are endangered. It would also help restore habitats and protect water quality by placing these properties under one management plan to allow for better coordination of available resources. Adding these lands to the existing monument would make them part of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) National Conservation Lands program, making them eligible for Land and Water Conservation resources.

Expanding the Monument would also increase tourism in each of these communities. In Humboldt County, tourism is responsible for more than $330 million in economic activity every year. In Santa Cruz County, tourism brings in more than $700 million every year and is one of the county’s top industries. And tourism in San Luis Obispo County produces more than $1 billion annually and is also the county’s largest industry, supporting 15,570 jobs in 2011.

The California Coastal National Monument, designated by President Clinton in 2000, stretches the entire 1,100 miles of California’s coastline and protects more than 20,000 small islands, rocks, exposed reefs and islands between Mexico and Oregon. It also protects the habitat for a variety of wildlife including seabirds, California sea lions and southern sea otters.

Senators Boxer and Feinstein, along with Congressman Mike Thompson, introduced legislation in 2012 to expand the Monument to include the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands in Mendocino County. In 2014, President Obama included these lands as the first onshore addition to the Monument.”

You can read the full text of their bill at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-114s1971is/pdf/BILLS-114s1971is.pdf

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