Ohio Fuming Over New Name for Mount McKinley

GOP politicians attack decision, blame President Obama
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2015 7:55 AM CDT
Ohio Fuming Over New Name for Mount McKinley
This Aug. 19, 2011 file photo shows Mount McKinley, now dubbed Denali, in Denali National Park, Alaska.   (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)

Alaska Natives are certainly pleased that the mountain formerly known as McKinley is now officially Denali, the name people who, say, live in Alaska have called it for years. But those in Ohio, the home state of 25th president William McKinley, are peeved their man has lost the honor. John Boehner says he is "deeply disappointed," Republican Sen. Rob Portman says it is "yet another example of the President going around Congress," and Republican Rep. Bob Gibbs slams it as a "political stunt" that's "insulting to all Ohioans," reports Fox News. Gibbs, who says he will "determine what can be done to prevent this action," argues the mountain can only be renamed with an act of Congress since a law was passed naming the peak Mount McKinley in 1917.

According to the White House, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell had every right to rename the mountain with a secretarial order. The Interior Department says Alaska has been trying to change the name to Denali—the Athabascan word for "the high one"—since 1975 and the US Board on Geographic Names had been deferring to Congress since 1977. In cases where the board fails to act "within a reasonable time," a 1947 law states the Interior has the authority to alter a landmark name. Jewell says the new title is "in recognition of the traditions of Alaska Natives and the strong support of the people of Alaska," noting in the order, "President McKinley never visited, nor did he have any significant historical connection to, the mountain or to Alaska," per Politico. (Meanwhile, the Washington Post runs down five other landmarks that got new names.)

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