President Obama should act now, using his presidential powers, to designate a national monument to protect “cherished lands” owned by the federal government in the San Juan Islands, Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and two House colleagues urged Obama in a letter sent Monday. The lawmakers noted wide local support, and visits by outgoing U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar dating back to April 2011. “Before Secretary Salazar leaves office, we urge you to consider designating a National Monument in the San Juan Islands, bring his and our efforts to fruition,” they wrote. Read more about this effort.