Monday, June 06, 2016

A major Native American site is being looted. Will Obama risk armed conflict to save it?

RIM OF CEDAR MESA, Utah — For centuries, humans have used the red sandstone canyons here as a way to mark their existence. First came archaic hunter-gatherers who worked in Glen Canyon Linear, a crude geometrical style dating back more than 3,500 years. Then about 2,000 years later, early ancestral Pueblo farmers of the Basketmaker period used more subtle lines to produce a man in headdress. A little more than 700 years ago came their descendants, who used the same kind of hard river stone to make drawings of bighorn sheep and a flute player in the ancient rock. Now, President Obama is weighing whether and how he can leave his own permanent imprint on history by designating about 2 million acres of land, known as the Bears Ears, as a national monument. And despite the uniformly acknowledged historical significance of the area, some people regard the conservation efforts by the White House as classic federal overreach. In the current-era conflict between Washington and rural Westerners, the idea of a Bears Ears national monument has produced warnings of a possible armed insurrection. In a state where the federal government owns 65 percent of the land, many conservatives already resent existing restrictions because they bar development that could generate additional revenue. Out-of-state militias came to San Juan County two years ago, when Commissioner Phil Lyman helped lead a protest all-terrain vehicle ride through a canyon the Bureau of Land Management had closed to motorized traffic in 2007. Lyman is appealing the 10-day jail sentence he received in connection with the protest, and argues that his case shows how BLM officials place the priorities of environmentalists over those of local residents. “I would hope that my fellow Utahans would not use violence, but there are some deeply held positions that cannot just be ignored,” Sen. Orrin G. Hatch the veteran Republican lawmaker, said in an interview...more

 Let's say it again.  The Antiquities Act says these designations are limited in size:

 That the President of the United States is hereby authorized, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments, and may reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected
They don't need 1.9 million acres to protect those areas subject to looting or otherwise deserving protection.  Anything more than the "smallest area" is not being done for the Native Americans.  It's being done for the environmentalists and their lobbyists.

No comments: