Old men usually subscribe to old adages. When it comes to Senate Bill 7, the proposed California Desert Protection Act, the phrase "if it ain't broke--don't fix it" is particularly fitting as far as we're concerned. For many reasons we oppose Sen. Alan Cranston's (D-Calif.) bill.
The issue of the California desert is one on which we have been actively working for a long time. Over a period of years, the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management have been considering boundary adjustments to the current California Desert Conservation Area. We have most recently agreed to consider, through the desert plan amendment process, certain boundary changes that we believe will enhance the management of the Joshua Tree and Death Valley national monuments.
The proposals concern one area to the south of the Joshua Tree National Monument consisting of approximately 4,500 acres and four areas along the perimeter of the Death Valley National Monument consisting of about 243,000 acres. These areas represent natural geographic, topographic, or hydrologic extensions and would enhance the manageability of the two monuments. We believe that the additional acreage proposed in Senate Bill 7 for expansion of the monuments is not necessary. That acreage is more effectively managed by the BLM and its inclusion would do little to enhance the manageability of the two monuments.