One of the worst things too many politicians do is pander to their constituents, telling them what they want to hear, not what they should hear. It is endemic and it is epidemic not to mention also insulting to the intelligence of the voter.
It is especially disgusting when the pandering politician knows it is just kabuki theater designed to keep their supporters mollified in the belief that their congressman or senator is looking out for their best interests.
A recent example was the introduction of a bill, S. 132, on January 3, 2017 by Idaho’s two senators, Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, that restricts the President’s ability to utilize the Antiquities Act to preserve special and in some cases, sacred lands deemed worthy of extra protection, The bill mandates “local approval” and congressional authorization for any new monument designations.
The bill effectively gives higher standing to the comments of those living in and adjacent to these national interest public lands. In doing so it illegally creates a second class of citizenship, with those living next to or inside the boundaries of these public lands having a greater say and sway with the federal land management agencies.
Such legislation panders to the myth, the mistaken belief that public lands in a state like Idaho, in which the government owns 61% of the state’s acreage, belong more to those making a living directly or indirectly from those lands.
Many Idahoans simply refuse to acknowledge that a condo dweller in upper Manhatten has as much interest in Idaho’s public lands as does any Idahoan. Bills such as the Crapo/Risch proposal¸ that require public hearings as well as a public vote before a president can act, serve only to perpetuate the myth of neighbor ownership.
Until recently one could remain philosophical about such proposals. After all it is hard to imagine any president deliberately signing legislation that would restrict his power. In what appears to be an incredibly stupid move, though, President Donald Trump appears about to prove how unsuited he is for the presidency.
He has ordered a review of 27 national monument designations made by his three immediate predecessors apparently with the idea he may actually try to rescind some by executive order and lessen the acreage of others. He thus is encouraging those who believe a president just might be dumb enough to give up some of his authority.
Here is what Senators Crapo and Risch don’t tell their constituents:
they don’t tell them that almost every national park had its beginnning as a national monument;
that almost all of these then national monuments were opposed at the time by the surrounding communities but today they are seen as the key to a clean thriving tourism economy---parks like Olympic, Grand Canyon, and Grand Teton were first national monuments.
That all but three presidents have created national monuments since 1906---the three non-users were Ricard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush.
Utah is leading the charge to limit a president’s usuage of the Antiquities Act, yet four of the five national parks Utah advertises traveling to visit started as national monuments.
Critics clamor for more public hearings yet the Bear Ears National Monument had the most public process in history.
The largest national monument declaration ever was NOT the Alaska lands designation of 56 million acres, it was actually a declaration by George W. Bush of an oceanic national monument in the Pacific.
During the last government shut-down Utah felt so strongly about the importance of the national parks to its tourism economy that they agreed to pay the daily cost (some $167,000) out of state funds to keep them open.
Despite false claims of restricted access to national monument lands regarding alleged arbitrary restrictions on fishing, hiking, camping, and even some hunting in adjacent “preserves,” monuments are open for recreational multiple uses along with some grazing. Understandably, logging, oil and gas drilling, and mineral entries are deemed incompatible activities.
Creating national monuments is not a new federal land grab - the monuments are carved out of alreay existing public lands.
National interest lands - parks, monuments, fish and wildlife refuges, seashores and wilderness areas - are all part of a natural legacy belonging to all Americans. Left solely to Senators and Congressmen, most too heavily influenced by contributors, this wonderful national heritage belonging to all of us never would have happened.