If you’ve never done so, you should look up a map of the government owned land in the United States. You may be surprised to discover just how much land our government keeps to itself, depriving private citizens of the opportunity to live on and develop it.
This is especially true out west in states like Utah and Nevada, where large swathes of their territory are owned by the feds. The government has gifted itself far too much land over the years, and conservatives have long called on a review of situation. That review has happened thanks to the Trump administration, and this week, we have the first actions taken based on the information.
As reported at the New York Post, on Monday, Trump took a chainsaw to the left-wing legacies of Obama and Clinton by dramatically reducing the size of two national monuments in Utah.
The president will be cutting Bears Ears to 220,000 acres from 1.5 million and slicing the 2-million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante in half. “Public lands will once again be for public use,” the president said in Salt Lake City as he reversed executive actions taken by former Presidents Barack Obama on Bears Ears and Bill Clinton on the Grand Staircase.
“Some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington. And guess what, they’re wrong,” Trump added.
While a person might initially balk at the idea of a national monument or park being reduced in size, it’s important to understand that just because it was once designated as such, change isn’t a bad thing, nor does it automatically make the move some kind of anti-environmental gambit.
If anything, it places more control in the hands of the states, which can now put the freed up land to good use. Trump’s decision was supported by Utah Republicans, but was met with protest by environmentalist groups and some native American tribes
Around 2,000 demonstrators gathered near the Utah State Capitol to protest Trump’s announcement, with many chanting, “Keep your tiny hands off our public lands!” and “Lock him up!”
Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye rebuked the president. “The Navajo Nation has made repeated requests to meet with President Trump on this issue,” he said in a statement. “The Bears Ears Monument is of critical importance, not only to the Navajo Nation but to many tribes in the region,” Begaye added.
“The decision to reduce the size of the monument is being made with no tribal consultation. The Navajo Nation will defend Bears Ears. The reduction in the size of the monument leaves us no choice but to litigate this decision.”
Unlike national parks, which can be created only by an act of Congress, national monuments can be designated unilaterally by presidents under the century-old Antiquities Act, a law meant to protect sacred sites, artifacts and historical objects.
Defending his decision, Trump said former presidents have abused the act by arbitrarily grabbing up land with little reason, which then prevents things like drilling, mining, grazing, road traffic, and other activities from being possible.
His drastic downsizing is unprecedented, so it’ll be interesting to see if leftists try and challenge the move in court. However, there’s no mistaking that the feds control far too much territory across the US. Placing power in the hands of the states and their residents is the best choice.
Source: New York Post