With 3 California sites, Obama nearly doubles public land he’s protected

Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 7.57.43 AMBy Mark Landler and Julie Turkewit

President Obama on Friday designated three new national monuments in the California desert, a 1.8-million-acre landscape of mountain ranges, lava flows, Joshua trees and sand dunes that nearly doubles the amount of public land he has protected as president.

The designations were a project of Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California. She asked Mr. Obama last summer to use his powers under the Antiquities Act, a 110-year-old law, to create the monuments after legislation to protect the lands was thwarted by feuding between environmentalists, mining companies and hunters.

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