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Originally published Monday, March 25, 2013 at 10:12 AM

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Obama designates 5 new national monuments

President Barack Obama has designated five new national monuments, using executive authority to protect historic or ecologically significant sites.

The Associated Press

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WASHINGTON —

President Barack Obama has designated five new national monuments, using executive authority to protect historic or ecologically significant sites.

Vice President Joe Biden and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar joined Obama Monday in the Oval Office as he signed five proclamations designating the sites under the Antiquities Act. The ceremony was closed to reporters.

The sites are Rio Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico; First State National Monument in Delaware; Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland; Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Ohio; and San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington state.

Biden has long sought the site in Delaware, his home state and the only state without a national park. Designating the 1,100 acre site is the first step toward creating a national park there.

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