Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Obama's Last Minute Unconstitutional Land Grab in the Name of Monuments

By Douglas V. Gibbs
AuthorSpeakerInstructorRadio Host

Obama is trying to do all he can to stop domestic drilling by designating State land as federal property through the pen and a phone move of calling the areas national monuments.

From Fox News:

President Obama designated two national monuments in Utah and Nevada Wednesday as part of the outgoing president’s efforts to secure and expand his environmental legacy, and to possibly bind the hands of President-elect Donald Trump.
The White House announced that The Bears Ears National Monument in Utah will cover 1.35 million acres in the Four Corners region. The move is a victory for Native American tribes and conservationists for whom the land is considered sacred, but sparked intense opposition from Republicans.
"This arrogant act by a lame duck president will not stand," Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah., tweeted.
The president also announced a 300,000-acre Gold Butte National Monument outside Las Vegas that will protect an ecologically fragile area that includes rock art, artifacts and fossils.
“Today’s actions will help protect this cultural legacy and will ensure that future generations are able to enjoy and appreciate these scenic and historic landscapes,” Obama said in a statement.
The Gold Butte designation was applauded by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., who said he was “overjoyed” at the news.
“President Obama is a courageous man. I could not be more grateful to him and his team for working with me to make this happen, and for everything he has done to protect public lands in Nevada. By designating Gold Butte a national monument, President Obama has shown once again why he is one of greatest environmental presidents in American history,” Reid said in a statement.
In Utah, state Republican leaders claimed the designation there would add another layer of federal control, and close the area to new energy development. While Republicans agreed the area is worth preserving, they expressed concern that it would restrict energy development, as well as the ability of residents to camp, hike and gather wood in the area.
Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz said Obama had ruined a bipartisan compromise in the works.
"After years of painstaking negotiations with a diverse coalition, Utah had a comprehensive bipartisan solution on the table that would have protected the Bears Ears and provided a balanced solution. Instead, the president's midnight proclamation cherry picked provisions of the Public Lands Initiative and disregarded the economic development and multi-use provisions necessary for a balanced compromise,” he said.
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said his office is planning a lawsuit over the issue.
“It is extremely disappointing that President Obama has declared another national monument here in Utah, ignoring the voices of so many in our state, particularly those closest to the designated space,” Reyes said. “By significantly restricting access to a large portion of public lands in Utah, the President weakens land management capabilities and fails to protect those the Antiquities Act intended to benefit.”
However, Native American groups were delighted, with Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye calling it an exciting day.
"We have always looked to Bears Ears as a place of refuge," Begaye said. "The rocks, the winds, the land — they are living, breathing things that deserve timely and lasting protection."
Obama’s latest environmental move is the latest in a series of actions to nail down his legacy before Trump is inaugurated. Trump has pledged to remove many environmental regulations to drilling and other energy mining, and has promised to undo much of Obama’s environmental agenda.
Last week, the president ordered U.S.-owned waters in the Arctic Ocean and certain areas in the Atlantic Ocean placed "indefinitely" off-limits for future oil and gas leases. He has also blocked new mining claims outside Yellowstone National Park.
While the monuments were designated by executive action, it may require action by Congress to remove. Christy Goldfuss, managing director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, told The Associated Press that the Antiquities Act allows presidents to create monuments, but does not give them authority to undo one.
However, that did not stop congressional Republicans from saying they intended to overturn Obama’s latest move. Rep. Chaffetz said he looked forward to helping President-elect Trump overturn the Utah designation.
"We look forward to working with President-elect Trump to follow through on his commitment to repeal midnight regulations. We will work to repeal this top-down decision and replace it with one that garners local support and creates a balanced, win-win solution,” he said in a statement.

From Townhall:
Before he leaves, President Obama has designated almost 1.6 million acres of land in Nevada and Utah as national monuments to protect Native American burial grounds and sacred sites. This is seen as another swipe against the incoming Trump administration since the 1.35 million acres in Utah will effectively end new oil and gas exploration leases (via The Hill):
The areas newly protected from development and various activities are the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah and the Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada. Both areas are owned by the federal Bureau of Land Management.
The actions further cement the aggressive conservation legacy of Obama, who has protected more land and water than any other president under the Antiquities Act.
The 1.35 million-acre Bears Ears area could be the most controversial of Obama's dozens of national monuments, in part because it shuts down any new leases for mining or oil and natural gas, exploration, along with other development and potential harms.
But Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) slammed Obama’s decision.
“This arrogant act by a lame duck president will not stand,” Lee tweeted Wednesday.
“I will work tirelessly with Congress & incoming Trump administration to honor the will of Utahns and undo this monument designation,” he added.

Obama also issued a permanent ban on offshore drilling, though Republicans vowed to reverse that decision as well. Utah's attorney general said he will file a lawsuit against the monument designation. 

According to Article I, Section 8, the only way the federal government can own property is if they "purchase" it with the "consent" of the State legislature for the purpose of "needful buildings." Much of the land west of the Mississippi River owned by the federal government was not obtained in either manner. As a result, the Bureau of Land Management unconstitutionally regulates/manages (or should I say "mismanages") a massive portion of the United States.

Environmentalists support the federal government illegally seizing land because not only is an authoritarian agenda easier to pursue when all they have to do is work through a single entity like the federal government, and a complicit one, at that but also they fear that allowing the individuals or individual States to have a say in how land can be managed might allow hunters and anglers to have a voice, a development the environmentalists have long stood against.

Note: Hunters and anglers are adamant about preserving the wilderness. They want hunting and fishing lands to be unchanged so that they may be used by generation after generation in their original pristine condition.

The land policies of the federal government is not about preserving land and allowing Americans to enjoy it, either.  The Obama administration's attitude is that the land must be seized, locked up and protected against any visitors.  It’s land with no use. Local economy’s suffer.  Grazing is reduced.  And the Constitution is being shredded.

Collectivism at work. Authoritarianism in action.

Ultimately, the goal must be to return the lands, and mineral rights, to the States. There is nothing in the Constitution that allows the federal government to own the land, manage the land, nor require the States to ask permission from the federal government to use the land for any reason. Internal issues are none of the federal government's business. Those issues belong to the States. The States created the federal government to protect, preserve and promote the union, and State Sovereignty, and for nothing more. For the federal government to demand more, and seize more, such as we are seeing regarding the creation of more federal land, is nothing less than tyranny.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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