WASHINGTON — President Obama is designating three places as national monuments for protection as historic or ecologically significant sites, including the Pullman neighborhood in Chicago where African-American railroad workers won a historic labor pact.
The White House said Obama will be in his hometown Thursday to announce the Pullman National Monument. The South Side neighborhood was built by industrialist George Pullman in the 19th century for workers to build luxurious railroad sleeping cars. The neighborhood was crucial in the African-American labor movement.
Obama also is expected to announce designation of Honouliuli National Monument in Hawaii, the site of an internment camp where Japanese-American citizens and prisoners of war were held during World War II; as well as Browns Canyon National Monument in Colorado, a 21,000-acre site along the Arkansas River popular for whitewater rafting.
The White House said the three monuments ''help tell the story of significant events in American history and protect unique natural resources for the benefit of all Americans.''
The sites bring to 16 the number of monuments Obama has created under the 1906 Antiquities Act, which grants presidents broad authority to protect historic or ecologically significant sites without congressional approval.
Some Republicans have complained that Obama has abused his authority, and they renewed their complaints over the new designations, especially the Colorado site, the largest in size by far among the three new monuments.
Designating Browns Canyon as a national monument could have a devastating effect on grazing rights and water rights in the area, said Representative Doug Lamborn, Republican of Colorado.