The mainstream media is often filled with doom and gloom. If you read the newspaper headlines, the same “experts” who couldn’t predict the 2016 election are now telling people what to think about the president… and it’s almost exclusively negative.
In the latest “the sky is falling” message, publications on the left are wringing their hands over President Donald Trump’s plan to overhaul the national monument system. It’s a land grab. It’s destroying parks. It’s a hundred different terrible things — except accurate.
The fact is that Trump is simply reining in the abuses of the Antiquities Act, a federal program that’s over 100-years-old.
That century-old act has recently been used by Barack Obama and other former presidents to take huge swaths of land and claim it for the federal government, while ignoring the will of local citizens. In many cases, the land grabs hurt the community while having no clear benefit.
“The Interior Department will focus on ‘righting past overreach,’ according to an official, by protecting national monuments in a manner that’s ‘consistent with the law,’” reported The Daily Caller.
“The agency will also ensure lands [are] properly cared for, and that critical infrastructure, like roads, bridges and trails, don’t fall into disrepair,” continued the report.
In other words, simply shifting large areas of land out of a massive federal program does not mean that they won’t continue to be protected. There are numerous ways to safeguard land, and states often know how to better manage their natural resources than faraway Washington bureaucrats.
For example, many citizens and lawmakers who actually live in Utah — including some Native American groups — opposed Obama’s recent land seizure, which took some 1.3 million acres and created the “Bears Ears” national monument.
That’s why Trump ordered the Department of Interior to review how the Antiquities Act, itself becoming antiquated, was being implemented and whether the law was being stretched beyond its original intent.
“The agency’s plan for national monuments will focus on six priorities: preserving traditional uses, public access, infrastructure, local consultation, tribal rights and protecting hunting and fishing rights,” The Daily Caller explained.
“Bears Ears” is one of the areas that the president is now adjusting.
“Bears Ears National Monument, designated by President Barack Obama in 2016 less than a month before Trump took office, is being reduced by over 80 percent—from 1.5 million acres to 228,784 acres,” reported The Daily Signal. Yes, that’s still nearly a quarter million acres.
Isn’t it interesting that the left seemed completely fine with the exact same area of land not being a national monument during seven and a half years of Obama’s presidency? It was only designated as such in the final six months of Obama’s tenure, but suddenly Trump is an anti-environmental monster for putting it back to how it was before?
Remember, just because national monuments are being adjusted does not mean that they are becoming unprotected. There are numerous ways and existing structures in place to do exactly that, without an ever-growing bureaucracy.
“The remaining 1.3 million acres will be restored to the previous land management plans under the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management,” The Daily Signal continued.
That’s the part that is not being reported: the sections of land that are leaving the national monument will still be public land, and will continue to be administered and kept safe.
The answer to every single issue is not more government seizures and increasing overreach from pen-pushers in Washington. There are other ways, and many of them are much more local and proven.
Don’t believe the nay-sayers. The president is not “destroying” national monuments. He’s keeping federal land grabs under control and handing important decisions back to the people who actually know and use the land.
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