Biden administration expected to expand two California national monuments

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The Biden administration plans to expand two national monuments in California, two sources tell The Hill.

The monuments, the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, were first designated under the Obama administration.

The San Gabriel Mountains, in Southern California, boast wildlife such as the California condor bird and mountain yellow-legged frog and are also the location of the San Andreas Fault.

The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is about 80 miles northwest of Sacramento and is known for wildflowers and steep canyons.

The monuments’ forthcoming expansion was first reported by The Washington Post.

One source said the announcement could come on or before Earth Day, on April 22.

The White House declined to comment, though climate adviser John Podesta said at a Post event Thursday morning that in terms of conserving public lands, “We have a few more coming.”

The Biden administration has set the goal of conserving 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030.

The announcement follows a push from lawmakers, particularly California Democrats Rep. Judy Chu and Sen. Alex Padilla, to expand the San Gabriel Mountains Monument in order to “increase public lands access and protect clean drinking water supplies.”

“Such a designation by the President will extensively benefit our region’s economy, health, and environment,” Chu said in a written statement.

Indigenous community members also advocated for the expansion.

“About 30% of the citizens of the tribe today descend from one of the villages that is within the expansion area… so culturally, we’re excited that an area where we have such a large percentage of descendants from could be protected in perpetuity,” said Miguel Luna, director of the tribal historic and cultural preservation department of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians.

Zack Budryk contributed.

Updated at 6:06 p.m.

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