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House Budget Bill Would Block Owyhee Monument

July 19, 2016

The latest Congressional budget bill for the U.S. Department of the Interior includes a provision to block President Obama from designating an Owyhee National Monument in Southeast Oregon.

The bill, which passed in the House, includes language essentially banning Interior budget dollars from funding the creation of national monuments by the president. Malheur County is one of several mentioned in the bill.

Obama hasn’t given any indication whether he has plans for an Owyhee Monument. But the idea has been championed by Keen Footwear and conservation groups.

Oregon Republican Congressman Greg Walden says the provision helps reduce federal overreach

"And to really give us an opportunity to do what we do best in Oregon, and that is to work together to find solutions to our natural resource issues, " Walden said. 

The budget also includes language to prevent the Greater Sage Grouse from being listed under the Endangered Species Act and cuts funding to the Environmental Protection Agency by $164 million.

The bill passed in the House by a vote of 231-196, essentially along party lines. The Senate has yet to vote on the budget bill. President Obama has threatened a veto should the legislation make it to his desk.


Giant red rock formations protrude from grassy, rolling hills. Although the Owyhee is known for its canyons, the majority of the land mass in the area is high desert sagebrush country. 

Amanda Peacher