Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Feds Signal They’re Ready To Rumble Over Western Land


There’s a battle brewing in the West, and the feds are ready to take off the gloves.

In a speech that seemed a bit like a battle cry Tuesday, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell laid out a broad vision for conservation in the U.S., calling for renewed efforts to fund National Parks, reaching out to a more diverse group of Americans, and cultivating new generations of people who appreciate parks.

But the address also included a strong response to recent conflicts in the West. Those conflicts, including the standoff at an Oregon wildlife refuge, the Bundy family’s confrontation with the feds in 2014, and several other skirmishes, were sparked by the federal government’s management of vast tracts of land in Western states.

While Jewell didn’t mention those standoffs by name, department spokesperson Jessica Kershaw in an email to BuzzFeed News cited both Oregon and Nevada as examples of what Jewell referred to as “the emergence of an extreme movement to seize public lands” and “land grabs.”

“This movement has propped up dangerous voices that reject the rule of law, put communities and hard-working public servants at risk, and fail to appreciate how deeply democratic and American our national parks and public lands are,” Jewell said Tuesday.

...The secretary also made a number of other hints that the feds are ready to take a harder line with those trying to stop conservation, including touting the benefits of the Antiquities Act — a law passed in 1906 that gives the president the power to designate national monuments with the stroke of a pen, and is among the most controversial tools used to set aside Western land.

Jewell described the Antiquities Act as “one of the most important tools a president has to improve our country,” adding that the Act ought to be used even if it is controversial.

“I do not think the Act should only be used in places where there is complete agreement, as some are suggesting,” Jewell said.


Anonymous said...

Secretary Jewell is suddenly concerned about "the rule of law" while just a few sentences later promotes further presidential abuses of the Antiquities Act. Practically every Interior agency has no regard whatsoever for the rule of law as it applies to their own operations. Case in point is the sleazy statistical sleight of hand to fabricate findings of no significant economic impact of the Mexican wolf introductions. FWS lied and broke every relevant administrative law in promulgating the new 10(j) rule for the Mexican wolf. That's just one example of dozens. Ms. Jewell considers herself and the agencies she oversees as entirely above the law!

Anonymous said...

So Secretary Jewell wants to talk about "the rule of law". Let's do that. To do that, we must go back to "the first cause" -- and the first cause is the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Maybe Secretary Jewell can point out, in that esteemed document, where the federal government is given any authority to acquire land belonging to the several states.