A California lawmaker has introduced a bill to limit the president's power to establish the national monuments that he says endanger the livelihoods of thousands of loggers, miners and farmers.
The bill by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., would let lawmakers weigh in on a president's designation of public land as new national monuments. The conservative congressman thinks this will restrain what he calls the president's "unfettered discretion."
"We don't need any more monuments, but that's the problem," Nunes said in an interview. "They want to do it."
Nunes' bill would modify Teddy Roosevelt's landmark 1906 Antiquities Act by stripping the President of his power to conserve federal lands and waters and protect them from fishing, mining and logging activities. Once land or water is designated, current operations must cease. TR used it to preserve the Grand Canyon. FDR used it to preserve Jackson Hole, WY. Clinton used it to preserve 328,000 acres of the Sequoias. Even George W. Bush used it to preserve the African Burial Ground here in New York City where some 20,000 free and enslaved African-Americans were buried during the Colonial era, an archeological discovery of deep importance to me.
Nunes is reacting to a Interior Department memo leaked last February. The memo notes some of the areas the Obama administration is considering preserving, including Montana's Northern Prairie, a huge piece of the Great Basin in New Mexico. While the President has made no decisions, you can bet good money he will before his term is over. If this bill becomes law, the President will lose this authority and will instead have to seek approval from both houses of Congress. In practical terms, any Senator could object and that will be the end of it. Make no mistake, this bill will stop any further efforts to preserve land in the United States.
Nunes acknowledged the bill is a long shot unless Republicans regain control of the House, and past evidence indicates he may be right.
"We know how the extreme radical environmental groups operate," Nunes said, "so we have to head them off."
As long as Pelosi is Speaker, this bill wont see the light of day. However, one doesn't need much imagination to see how this bill could get attached to an omnibus appropriation bill in a GOP Congress, making it difficult for Obama to veto. Right now, however, it will die in the House Natural Resources Committee.
And guess who will run the Natural Resources Committee if voters make the wrong choice in November? Congressman Don "environmentalists are still idiots" Young. The very same Don Young who said of the Gulf Oil Spill:
This is not an environmental disaster, and I will say that again and again because it is a national phenomena. Oil has seeped into this ocean for centuries & will continue to do it.
Let that marinate in your brain for a minute before commenting.