Lame Duck MB Obama Grabs More Land and Power
Dec 29, 2016 by Steve Byas
“This arrogant act by a lame duck president will not stand,” tweeted Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) in reaction to President Barack Obama designating two national monuments Wednesday at sites in Nevada and in Lee’s home state of Utah.
Christy Goldfuss, managing director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, stated that the action will not allow any new mining or oil and gas development within the monument boundaries.
The Bears Ears National Monument in Utah designation adds even more land to the control of the federal government, covering 1.35 million acres in the Four Corners region. While Lee and many other residents of the states affected by Obama’s latest executive order reacted angrily, conservationists were ecstatic.
The proposed monument is located in between existing national parks and the Navajo Indian Reservation. Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye called it an exciting day for members of his tribe. “We have always looked to Bears Ears as a place of refuge, as a place where we can gather herbs and medicinal plants, and a place of prayer and sacredness,” he said. “The rocks, the winds, the land — they are living, breathing things that deserve timely and lasting protection.”
Today, the federal government owns two-third of the land in Utah. In the case of Bears Ears, the federal government will “co-manage” the land not with the state of Utah, but rather with five tribes: the Hopi, the Navajo Nation, the Uintah-Ouray Utes, the Ute Mountain Ute, and the Pueblo of Zuni.
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) called the action by Obama “an astonishing and egregious abuse of executive power,” which indicated to him that “far-left special interest groups matter more to him than the people who have lived on and cared for Utah’s lands for generations.” Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) also expressed his disapproval of Obama’s actions: “The midnight move is a slap in the face to the people of Utah, attempting to silence the voices of those who will bear the heavy burden it imposes. It does not have the support of the governor, a single member of the state’s congressional delegation, nor any local elected officials or state legislators who represent the area.”
Such disrespect for the wishes of the population and its elected officials of the area affected is yet another indication of the low regard in which the Obama administration holds the principle of federalism. Utah’s Attorney General Sean Reyes has promised to sue over the action.
In Nevada, the Gold Butte National Monument has been a site of controversy for more than 15 years. Environmentalists have worked feverishly to stop the expansion of Las Vegas in order to protect various indigenous species such as the desert tortoise. Local cattle rancher Cliven Bundy made national news when he refused to recognize the authority of the federal government over the land, eventually engaging in an armed standoff with officials of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 2014.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and U.S. Senator Dean Heller, both Republicans, contend that it is Congress that should make land designations, not the president. But Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the retiring Democrat leader in the U.S. Senate, actually pushed for the designation for the remote area northeast of Lake Mead, claiming it’s “a wonderful capstone to [my] career of fighting to protect Nevada’s pristine landscapes.”
Obama said his action will “protect some of our country’s most important cultural treasures, including abundant rock art, archaeological sites, and lands considered sacred by Native American tribes. Today’s actions will help protect this cultural legacy and will ensure that future generations are able to enjoy and appreciate these scenic and historic landscapes.”
He defended the legality of his designation of 1.35 million acres as now off-limits to new energy development and recreation by citing the 1906 Antiquities Act, a law passed during the Progressive Era in which Congress gave up power to the president to designate national monuments on his own, without approval from Congress. The Antiquities Act was passed at the urging of progressive Republican President Theodore Roosevelt, a strong believer not only in government taking over private land “to conserve it,” but also in increasing the power of the president. He argued that a president should be able to do anything that he is not forbidden to do under the Constitution, and is therefore generally regarded as the one most responsible for changing the office of president into what is now called “the Imperial Presidency.”
Interestingly, Homer Cummings, the U.S. attorney general for President Franklin Roosevelt, issued an opinion in 1938 that while presidents could remove land from private use under the 1906 law, they could not reverse such executive actions. Republicans in Congress, incensed at Obama’s repeated use of executive orders to circumvent the will of Congress, are threatening to change the law in January.
While Franklin Roosevelt used the law to limit use of land in the West the most during his 12 years in office, Obama has taken the most land: 554,590,000 acres. this latest action is the 29th time Obama has used the power to create national monuments.
Only William Howard Taft has reduced the amount of land taken by the federal government (only 500 acres). Only four presidents did not use the power at all — Warren Harding, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. Gerald Ford added a mere 90 acres.
It appears that Obama is doing his best to take as many actions as he can to advance his progressive viewpoint in the little time he has left in office. For example, he has blocked additional mining outside of Yellowstone National Park, and has stopped new oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean. Donald Trump is slated to take the oath of office as the 45th president on January 20, 2017, and environmentalists have expressed deep concern that he will attempt to alter Obama’s land “protections.”
This is an opportunity for the Republicans, who now control both houses of Congress, and the White House to rein in both the excessive power of the Imperial Presidency, and the policy of the federal government controlling more and more land in the western states. Whether they will actually do so remains to be seen.
Photo: AP Images
Obama Oversees Year of Mass Regulation, Record 97,000 Pages of Red Tape
President Barack Obama’s administration has addedrecord levels of new regulation in the year 2016, with 18 regulations added for every new law, according to a new analysis by the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Whilst Congress passed 211 laws over the course of the year, they had an accompanying 3,852 new federal regulations, costing billions of dollars in both implementation and losses to businesses. This was 443 more regulations than 2015.
There was also a record number of pages of red tape, with 97,110 pages printed on the 2016 Federal Register.
However the level of regulation per new law passed is still down considerably compared to 2013, when the Obama administration introduced 3659 new regulations for just 72 new laws, a record 51 pieces of regulation for every new law.
The record for overall new regulation is still held by George. W. Bush in 2003, who introduced 4148 new rules to improve security following the 9/11 terror attacks, 21 one pieces of regulation for every law.
However, the report states that “the multiple [of number of regulations per law passed] did tend to be higher during Obama administration. Bush’s eight years averaged 20, while Obama’s almost-eight have averaged 29.”
“There’s no pattern to any of this, since the numerators and denominators can vary widely; there had been 114 laws in 2015, and a multiple of 39. The multiple can be higher with fewer laws, or with more regulations, holding the other constant. The point is that agencies do the bulk of lawmaking, no matter the party in power,” the report continued.
Throughout the election campaign, President-elect Donald Trump promised to cut taxation as well as much federal regulation that has risen under Obama. A report from the American Action Forum found that will save the financial services industry at least $1.7 billion per year.
Designation of Gold Butte area could lead to another standoff with furious local land owners and patriots across country
Update: The Hill is now reporting that even if incoming President Donald Trump wanted to reverse this massive land grab he could face a “prolonged legal battle.”
We now know that this move by Obama was made to box Trump in.
Undoing Obama’s national monument designations — the latest protecting two massive areas in the American West — could prove a heavy lift as well, likely requiring a prolonged legal battle.
No president has ever reversed a predecessor’s actions to create a monument under the Antiquities Act.
The Obama administration and environmental groups argue it can’t legally be done, though some Republican lawmakers argue otherwise.
Make no mistake, this massive federal government power grab was done in the last days of Obama’s presidency with the hopes of it being impossible to overturn.
(INTELLIHUB) — With a stroke of the pen President Obama has unilaterally declared vast swaths of land in Utah and Nevada as two new national monuments, thus putting them under control of the federal government.
Startlingly, the area in Nevada includes the site of the infamous Bundy Ranch standoff as well as land very close to the Bundy Ranch itself. With this move Obama has possibly triggered another armed standoff while also heading off any moves set to be made by incoming president Donald Trump.
A “fact sheet” put out by the White House reads:
Today, President Obama will designate two new national monuments, protecting sacred sites, spectacular scenery, and important natural and cultural resources in the desert landscapes of southeastern Utah and southern Nevada. The creation of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah and the Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada follow years of robust public input from tribes, local elected officials, and diverse stakeholders, and draws from legislation introduced in Congress.
In addition to protecting more land and water than any Administration in history, President Obama has taken unprecedented steps to elevate the voices of Native peoples in the management of our natural resources. Today’s actions build on this important work, and further demonstrate the President’s commitment to protecting sacred sites and our land, water and wildlife for future generations.
Gold Butte National Monument
Located in Clark County, Nevada just northeast of the outskirts of Las Vegas, the Gold Butte National Monument spans nearly 300,000 acres and will protect significant cultural resources, important geological formations, and vital plant and wildlife habitat. The monument will provide critical protections for important Native American historical sites, as well as areas that are currently used for traditional purposes by tribes. Notably, the area includes abundant rock art, archeological artifacts, and rare fossils, including recently discovered dinosaur tracks dating back hundreds of millions of years. In recent years these resources have faced increasing damage from threats such as deliberate destruction and vandalism, and today’s designation will help ensure that these cultural and archaeological treasures are better protected.
The monument will serve as an important connection between already protected lands, including Lake Mead Recreation Area and the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument across the Arizona border, protecting key wildlife corridors for large mammals such as desert bighorn sheep and mountain lions, and vital habitat for the threatened Mojave desert tortoise. Additionally, the monument will protect important historic resources. Structures that detail western ranching heritage can still be found in the Gold Butte area, as well as an early twentieth-century abandoned mining town and sites associated with Spanish explorers from the late eighteenth century.
Today’s action follows decades of local support from tribes, local stakeholders and conservationists, and draws from legislation that was first introduced in 2008.
Right now it is extremely difficult to confirm exactly how much of the land in and around the Bundy Ranch is now a national monument but a map put out by the Las Vegas Review seems to line up directly with the Bundy grazing allotment.
“Obama just designated the Bundy Ranch a national monument”
Vocativ is reporting that multiple individuals involved with the original Bundy standoff have already made it clear that they plan to stand up to this latest federal tyranny.
“Members of the self-styled militias that swarmed to the aid of Cliven Bundy outside of Las Vegas in 2014 — and who later joined the rancher’s sons to seize a federal wildlife refuge in rural Oregon — said they were readying for another showdown. Obama’s move on Wednesday to protect 300,000 acres of federal land around Gold Butte, close to the Bundy ranch, comes as two dozen people await trials for their roles in the Nevada and Oregon standoffs, which emboldened right-wing militants across America and became a powerful symbol of anti-government sentiment,” read the report.
“Get your gear ready,” wrote Jon Ritzheimer, one of the men who used handguns and assault rifles to hole up in Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for 41 days last year. “Obama just designated the Bundy Ranch a national monument.”
“Others with ties to patriot groups and militia movements online responded with a bit more force. “Locked and loaded ready to go,” wrote Chris Border, a member of the Cliven Bundy’s Army! Facebook group, which boasts more than 2,000 members. “Tired of this crap and time to do something.”
One has to wonder what exactly are the reasons for this new land grab by President Obama in the last days of his presidency. It’s extremely hard to imagine that it is not at least partially connected to the Bundy’s and the standoffs in both Nevada and Oregon.
More importantly, this area may actually include land that has documented precious metals throughout it as detailed in the video report below.
More information as to the exact implications of this massive land grab are sure to be released in the coming days and will be covered here extensively.
Note: An interesting discussion about the implications surrounding Obama’s new land grab was also recently released by patriots in the area, which can be viewed here.