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President Obama on Tuesday, using his executive authority to bypass Congress, added about 1,665 acres of “spectacular” Mendocino County coastline to the California Coastal National Monument.

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The California Coastal National Monument, pictured, was expanded under an executive order from President Obama on March 11, 2014. (Credit: Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management)

It is the first onshore addition to the to the monument, established in 2000 by President Clinton to protect 20,000 small islands, reefs, rocks and pinnacles off California’s coast.

“In my State of the Union address, I said that I would use my authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations.” Obama said. “Our country is blessed with some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. It’s up to us to protect them, so our children’s children can experience them, too.”

The action, which would prohibit activities such as energy exploration, drew criticism from Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, who called it “an unnecessary use of excessive presidential power.”

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