In mid-July, President Barack Obama announced the he will expand the nation’s permanently protected lands by one million acres, reported ThinkProgress.

The Basin and Range National Monument in Nevada, Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument in California, and Waco Mammoth National Monument in Texas will be protected as public lands under the new land expansion. These places add to the 16 national monuments created by Obama under the Antiquities Act. Conservationists praised the president’s decision to expanded protected public lands.

“By creating these three new national monuments, President Obama is continuing his commitment to preserving America’s treasured places and cementing his well-deserved place in conservation history,” said Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters. “The president acted in response to the overwhelming support expressed by local communities and stakeholders across the country for protecting these places of extraordinary environmental, historic, and scientific value.”

The Basin and Range National Monument contains some of the nation’s most important historical and cultural features. Among them are ancient 4,000-year-old works of art. The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is considered one of the most biologically diverse areas in California.

The expansion is a great victory for environmentalism and land conservation. Republicans have been fighting the expansion of protected public lands, but Obama prevailed on the good side of the fight.