Using the Antiquity Act, the Endangered Species Act, and by executive moratoria, President Obama has now seized more land by executive order than any U.S. President in history.
Arizona has a Federally-imposed 20-year moratorium on new mining claims near the Grand Canyon, an area rich in uranium. The rationale is that such mining could contaminate the Colorado River. However a study by the Arizona Geological Survey shows this worry to be far-fetched. (see ADI story).
Obama’s Interior Department is proposing to withdraw up to 10 million acres of sage grouse habitat from new mining operations in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming. This action is being proposed in spite of the fact that DOI recently announced that listing of the greater sage grouse as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is not warranted and DOI’s finding that mining is not a major threat to the bird or its habitat.
The National Mining Association says “This over-reaching and unprecedented action would seriously damage the United States economy and mineral security, while harming the very species it purports to protect.” “DOI maintains that the withdrawal is necessary to prevent a listing of the sage grouse. However, most of the reports prepared for the listing determination do not identify mining activities as a significant threat and instead point to wildfires and invasive species as the greatest threats.” NMA also notes that “Already half of the nation’s hardrock mineral estate is either off-limits or under restrictions for mineral development.” (Source) NMA has released a video explaining how these withdrawals negatively impact our nation, industries, and citizens.
This past August, Obama greatly expanded the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in Hawaii to 582,578 square miles. This area will be off-limits to scientific investigation, petroleum exploration, and commercial fishing. (Source)
Also in August, Obama created the “Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument,” placing 87,563 acres of Maine’s woods under federal control. This designation did not sit well with the local people. (Source) Obama also set aside two million acres in Utah as the “Big Ears National Monument.”
In July, 2015, Obama claimed more than 1 million acres in California, Texas and Nevada to designate as national monuments. The Washington Times opined: “With the move, Mr. Obama has established or expanded 19 national monuments, taking 260 million acres of land and placing it under control of the federal government. Critics say the administration simply wants to expand government control across the country.” (Source)
On Nov. 1, 2016, members of the House Committee on Natural Resources sent a letter to the White House expressing concerns that national monument designations in California and Oregon will exacerbate water shortages and increase threats of catastrophic wildfire. (Read letter)
Do you want such policy to continue? Or, should we wisely use our own natural resources to become less dependent on foreign sources?
Trump Weighs In On Western States Land Grab Battle – ADI article