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Trump shrinks two national monuments significantly

As he had promised, President Trump today announced that two national monuments, one created by Obama against the wishes of local residents and the second created by Clinton, will be reduced significantly in size.

Trump shrunk Bears Ears by nearly 85 percent and reduced Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by almost half. The plan would cut the total amount of land in the state’s red rock country protected under monument status from more than 3.2 million acres (5,000 square miles) to about 1.2 million acres (1,875 square miles).

I think Trump’s statement explains very well the root reasons this is happening.

“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,” he said in the cavernous Utah Capitol Rotunda in Salt Lake City. “The families and communities of Utah know and love this land the best. And you know the best how to take care of your land. You know how to protect it, and you know best how to conserve this land for many, many generations to come,” he said.

“Your timeless bond with the outdoors should not be replaced with the whims of regulators thousands and thousands of miles away. They don’t know your land, and truly they don’t care for your land like you do.”

The establishment of the national parks and monuments involved a lot of good intentions, and we all know where that leads. Today it has led to most of the land in the western states controlled by an oppressive bureaucracy in Washington that doesn’t have the resources to manage the land properly, but has the power to make the lives of the local population quite miserable. And they sadly do both, quite thoroughly.

In the eastern states there are few national parks. Instead, the land was controlled by the states, who treated the natural resources there most reasonably, and at the same time allowed for their citizens to live and work and take advantage of those resources. This is how our federal system of government is supposed to work, and Trump’s action today is merely the first step in shifting policy back in that direction.


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  • wodun

    People always overlook maintenance. Federal and state governments are already incapable of maintaining what they have. This drives up the costs of accessing “public” lands and puts it out of range for those without much money. When simply walking around on public lands carries a high price, something is wrong with the system.

    But many of the people who advocate for more government controlled land, it really isn’t “the people’s” land, are just fine with less people having access to the land. They build into the system that the people they like will have access while removing access for those they don’t like. That is at the heart of what Obama did. It wasn’t really about protecting the land but punishing groups Democrats don’t like.

    The idea that we would let the people who gave us plastic water bottles and shopping bags control what we think about and how to manage the environment is insane. Isn’t it ironic that some of the worst things for the environment were introduced by environmentalists? Somehow that got memory holed, probably because that would lead to questions about their current “solutions”.

  • Edward

    You wrote: “but has the power to make the lives of the local population quite miserable. And they sadly do both, quite thoroughly.

    Aren’t you being a little harsh on the government? It isn’t as though the federal government thoughtlessly dumped three million gallons of toxic water into a western state’s rivers.

    Oh, wait.

    But they would never let such a thing happen again. The government has smart people who learn from their mistakes and are adamant about protecting the environment and the water that thousands of farms and millions of people depend upon.

    Oh, wait.

    OK. Maybe twice, showing that they are idiots in government, but we can definitely trust them to never ever do it again. Because what is worse than idiots running our government and protecting our environment?

    Oh, wait.

    Those thousands-and-thousands-of-miles-away fed regulators just don’t seem to care, or if they do care, they don’t take care to be careful. We certainly don’t want that kind of thing to happen to Utah or any other state.

    I guess, wodun, it is a good thing that we have all that clean water in all those plastic bottles to send to Colorado, because with environmentalists like the EPA, who needs … (gee, has there ever been any company as damaging to the environment as the government)?

    When you want to see competence, look to the government. Then turn around, because you’re looking in the exact wrong direction.

  • Steve Earle

    The problem with all of these policy changes by Trump is that as good as they may seem to us, if he and the Republicans don’t get their act together post haste he will be a one term aberration in the Left’s march towards the “People’s Paradise”…

  • Max

    Utah, it is said, is the most conservative state in the union. Reddest of the red. That makes it easy target for liberals who wish to punish someone as an example.
    When the Chinese expressed a desire to buy the low sulfur clean coal in southern Utah, “Shazam”, Bill Clinton declared “grand staircase Escalante national monument” locking up one of the largest coal reserves in the nation.
    Roads and trails accessible to the locals for 100 years suddenly became federal property with armed guards. And he didn’t even have the guts to visit it, he made his declaration from Arizona. Giving one of the poorest areas of Utah the middle finger. Land so beautiful that we cannot let anyone see it.

    Obama did the same thing just before leaving office. He also did not visit the bears ears area. He signed a new national monument from his rental house in Hawaii… Stopping a new uranium mine from going into operation which would have been a big boon to a economically depressed area.
    Robert, your observation of their not being very many monuments like this in the east is correct. When the nation divided, the northern states gave up their sovereignty to the central government to go to war with the south. The South had already succeeded from the union and was a separate nation. Well, almost was but the war put an end to that and it became conquered land along with all the territories.

    This is why most of the west is controlled by the BLM by the rules of conquest. To deny states use of their own land. The federal government’s power over us is symbolized in the change of the American flag to have four colors. Red, white, blue, and gold. Only the federal flags have the gold.
    This even occurred years later with Alaska, most of the mineral rights just happened to fall within parks. The Eskimos refused to be put on reservations, fortunately they had good lawyers and retain their land.

    Speaking of lawyers, all of the environmental groups are joining together to fight this. I wonder if they still have tens of millions that Obama gave them?

    Oral hatch introduced the president in the rotunda, Trump said he needed hatch to stay in office to continue his good work. This settles the question whether he’s going to run again or not. Apparently Mitt Romney established residency for nothing. The only time orin hatch is not a rhino Republican is the year before he runs for re-election which he has been doing since I was a teenager. President Trump is so popular here, this will secure him for another term. I hope he knows what he’s doing…

  • LocalFluff

    As a foreigner I’m very impressed by the US system’s capability to handle this extreme pressure. MSM is completely crazy and judges and bureaucrats are clearly politicized. Still, what matters are legal definitions, rule of law. What matters is for example whether Clinton was grossly careless or extremely negligent. The character of persons. Where I live MSM is the law and one side is the nazis so anything is allowed to kill them. You should take care of your constitution.

  • Rick

    NPR had one of the Utah Congressman on earlier in the week.
    He was telling how bad the regulations were in these monuments.
    It took 7 years of red tape to change the crosstrees on power line poles.

  • BSJ

    And because none of this is actually Law, the next guy/gal to come along can just change it back.

    This Presidential fiat isn’t any better than the last.

    Just because it’s “your” guy making this decree, doesn’t make it so.

  • BSJ: You are right of course. Better would be for the federal government, through Congressional action, to cede these lands to the states directly. Then it is done, for good.

    I also do not expect that to happen in the near future. However, Trump’s action here changes the momentum. Up until now it has been considered politically advantageous to declare more federal land protected. Trump is showing that the political advantage is beginning to shift in the other direction.

    At the same time, Trump proved his transitional character by not cancelling the executive orders of Clinton and Obama, but merely modifying them by reducing them somewhat. He really isn’t the man to push this as far as it should be pushed. Or maybe, the slow way in which government works requires this half measure first before it is politically possible to do the full measure.

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