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Protect our public land 

I want to thank U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal and Sen. Kamala Harris for working with a diverse coalition of business and community leaders to provide additional protections to Carrizo Plain National Monument, which will ensure clean water for communities, protect valuable wildlife habitat, and stimulate a vibrant local economy.

The Carrizo Plain National Monument is a place that is home to an incredible diversity of plant and animal life; that safeguards culturally significant Native American sites; offers world-class recreation including horseback riding, cycling, and camping, and that has helped support economic and job growth in the community. The Central Coast Heritage Protection Act would create new Wilderness additions within the national monument.

Thanks to Carbajal and Harris' approach to crafting this bill, more than 500 individuals and businesses from around the region have voiced their support for permanent protection of these special places. These include elected officials, business owners, OHV users, mountain bikers, veterans, faith leaders, anglers, conservationists, and many others. On behalf of the Conservation Lands Foundation, I would like to thank Carbajal and Harris for their advocacy on behalf of our natural areas.

At the same time, our members of Congress are working to protect the environment and the economy, the recently leaked report about national monuments makes clear the administration and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke are preparing for an unprecedented attack on protected public lands.

Even though Carrizo Plain wasn't attacked by name in the draft report, the glaring omission of six California national monuments from the document should do the opposite of make us feel safe. We cannot assume Carrizo Plain or any national monument is off the chopping block.

Safeguarding our national monuments is vital to our region's economic future and quality of life. We should be protecting, not attacking, our public lands that protect our heritage.

Elayne Stefanick

California program director

Conservation Lands Foundation

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