President Obama has used his executive authority to create five new national monuments despite Republican opposition, the Washington Post reports. The five sites now off-limits to development "honor the pioneering heroes, spectacular landscapes, and rich history that have shaped our extraordinary country," the president said. The chair of the House Natural Resources Committee slammed him for dictating "under a century-old law that the government spend money it doesn’t have on property it doesn’t even own," despite the sequester. The five new monuments, as described by the White House:
- The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland. This park includes large sections of landscapes significant to Tubman's early life and "evocative of her life as a slave and conductor of the Underground Railroad."
- The San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington. This "chain of 450 islands, rocks, and pinnacles" is home to endangered wildlife and "provides an opportunity for visitors, campers, kayakers, and birdwatchers to experience the natural beauty of the undeveloped, rugged landscape."
- The First State National Monument in Delaware. This park, comprised of three historic areas, tells the tale of early settlement in Delaware and its role as the first state to ratify the Constitution.
- The Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Wilberforce, Ohio. This monument preserves the home of the first African American to achieve the rank of colonel.
- The Río Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico. This park "contains stretches of the Río Grande Gorge and extinct volcanoes that rise from the Taos Plateau" and is an important habitat for birds and wildlife, offers recreational opportunities, and is home to a "dense amount" of archeological resources.