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Clinton Signs Order Creating Three New National Monuments

BY EDWIN CHEN -- GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, ARIZ.

With the stroke of a pen, President Clinton on Tuesday created three national monuments in the West, most notably more than 1 million acres on the Grand Canyon’s north rim filled with rugged cliffs and ponderosa pines. The action effectively doubles the amount of federally protected land in Arizona.

In addition, Clinton used his executive authority to expand by nearly half the size of the 16,265-acre Pinnacles National Monument south of San Jose, Calif., to protect watershed and wildlife habitat from commercial exploitation.

The White House said Tuesday that Clinton now has designated more land as national monuments in the continental United States than any other president. But some critics were not impressed.

Clinton’s designation of the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument provoked strong controversy in Arizona, where Republican Gov. Jane Hull and much of the state’s congressional delegation denounced the move as a federal land-grab that ignored local concerns. The new monument also was opposed by hunters, off-road vehicle users and various other commercial interests.

Clinton acted under the auspices of the Act for the Preservation of American Antiquities, a 1906 law that authorizes presidents to set aside lands as national monuments, a status with somewhat more protection than many other federal lands but less than a national park.

To Cut Fire Deaths, Philip Morris Offers Cooler-Burning Cigarettes

LOS ANGELES TIMES

Philip Morris said Tuesday it will test-market cigarettes designed to cut the risks of smoking-related fires, a move that likely will pressure rival companies to make improvements of their own.

Philip Morris said that within six months it will begin offering a test version of Merit cigarettes that will burn cooler than standard smokes, making them less prone to ignite home furnishings. Company officials said tests have demonstrated the experimental cigarettes are 30 percent to 90 percent less apt to cause fabric fires than brands now on the market.

Fire safety advocates, who for more than two decades have fought unsuccessfully to require fire-safe cigarettes, reacted with anger and hope.

It’s “a great first step,” said Rep. Joseph Moakley, D-Mass., who has been pushing fire-safe legislation since 1979 when a family of seven in his district perished in a cigarette fire. But Moakley added: “I wish it would have happened when I first filed a bill. Twenty thousand people would still be alive.”

Cigarette fires kill about 1,000 Americans per year -- accounting for one of every four fire deaths -- and cause thousands of injuries and millions of dollars in property losses. Many victims are careless smokers who allow burning cigarettes to roll off the lip of an ashtray onto bedding or a sofa, where the cigarettes can smolder at least 30 minutes before flames erupt. But other victims are innocent family members or neighbors, including scores of children.