Obama Could Declare 500,000-Plus Acres Protected

Areas in New Mexico and California to become national monuments

In January, the White House issued a report showing that 7.3 million acres of federal land have been leased for oil and gas drilling as of December, while 2.9 million acres have been permanently protected. Seems disproportionate.

On Sunday, however, the Washington Post reported that in a bold move that might change America’s public land policy, the Obama administration, using its executive authority over Congress, is preparing to designate more than 500,000 of acres in New Mexico and California as off-limits to development.

The first site is the 500,000-acre Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks region near Las Cruces, New Mexico—twice the size of the largest national monument established by Obama. The other site covers 1,600 acres on California’s central coast.

A final decision has not been made, but many hope the monuments will combat criticism that the administration has not preserved enough public land under Obama's presidency. 


Relying on Tesla's network of Supercharger stations, the vehicles blasted through heavy snow, driving rain, and even a sandstorm, arriving at New York's City Hall at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday. The journey was part of an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the lowest charge time for an electric vehicle crossing the United States.

Tesla's Model S got off to a rough start last year after John Broder of the New York Times wrote a scathing and controversial review of the electric vehicle, claiming its battery life was poor and that it underperformed in cold weather. Tesla later disputed the review, saying that the car's data logs did not support Broder's account of his journey in the vehicle along I-95.

The NYT's public editor Margaret Sullivan later reprimanded Broder in a column, saying that, "[He] left himself open to valid criticism by taking what seem to be casual and imprecise notes along the journey, unaware that his every move was being monitored."

Read more about Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his quest to reshape America.