I agree with Jay. The duties and limits on the President are clearly defined.
Nowhere has the Constitution given the President the authority to encroach on
State lands, except to provide for "Forts", "Magazines", and
"Federal Buildings". The land in Utah is not "public land" that
is owned by the citizens of the United States. It is either private land, which
is secured by a deed, or it is State land, unless we throw out the Constitution
that protects the States from Federal "ownership" of land within a
State.People who refuse to read the Constitution have set themselves
up for Federal "ownership" of State land. We are a Federation of
States. The role of the Federal Government is to have the authority to require
all States within that Federation to aid any State that is under attack. That,
basically, is the role of the Federal Government. The States, the Counties
within those States and the Cities within those Counties, handle all other
The antiquities act is based on a good concept, but it's too open to abuse.
And it has been abused in the past. They just want to put some Congressional
oversight on it (which is a good thing).We have Congressional
oversight on other things... for a good reason. So one man (or one party)
can't just do whatever they want and nobody (especially the locals affected
most by the edict) can stop them.IF it's a real good idea...
the oversight will approve it. So what are you afraid of?If you
want to get things passed by an individual edict (only have to convince one
person).... then I can see why you would oppose any changes to the Antiquities
Act.I think the proposed changes are an improvement... they just
want Congress to have some oversight (that's part of their job in a
division-of-power type Government, with checks and balances, instead of a King
who can do anything he wants).I don't think we would need this
if it would never be abused... but obviously it can and has been abused.
our national parks are a tressure and should always be protected and the same
for national monuments. I personally don't see the need for new national
monuments however. Wilderness lands are a different thing altogether and I am
personally angry that our most prestine wilderness lands in Utah aren't
better protected. As an example, the High Uinta's have large sections
designated as wilderness such as the Henry Fork basin next to Kings Peak. These
areas should be protected AGAINST grazing sheep for example but they
aren't. Go to Kings Peak and you are overrun with smelly - destructive
sheep. In this case I am actually in favor of MORE protection of the enviornment
...not less. Some areas are so fragile that they need extra protection and
grazing is one of the most harmful things you can do to an area.
More land needs to be set aside and protected from development. The more the
Can we imagine an American West the same way if we didn't have the
Antiquities Act? It would not nearly be so special. Imagine a Jackson Hole that
looked much like the Uinta Basin. The bottom line is that public
lands belong to all of Americans, not just Americans living in Utah or Wyoming.
And thank God it does. Western states are, unfortunately, turning out to be some
of the worst stewards of the landscape we could possibly imagine. This is a
situation in which the Federal Government has really been the true savior of our
western way of life. Otherwise, Utah would be littered with oil wells, ATVs,
open pit mines, dirt roads and air pollution.
@Ernest,Re: "More land needs to be set aside and protected from
development"...The Antiquities Act is not used to protect land
from development. It's used to create National Monuments.Google it and read the history..."The 1906 act stated that it
was intended for: "... the protection of objects of historic and scientific
interest." These areas are given the title of "National Monuments."
It also allows the President to reserve or accept private lands for that
purpose. The aim is to protect all historic and prehistoric sites on United
States federal lands and to prohibit excavation or destruction of these
antiquities. With this act, this can be done much more quickly than going
through the Congressional process of creating a National Park"...So.... we need to understand that the Antiquities Act is NOT be used to create
"National Parks" (that takes an act of Congress). It is NOT used to
establish "Wilderness". It's NOT used to stop developers It IS
used to protect antiquities, by creating "National Monuments" (which may
later become National Parks IF Congress decides to do that).Protecting land from development can be done with Zoning, etc... doesn't
require the Antiquities Act.
While Jay's proposals are good in principle they are not practical. We
live in a very partisan time and Congress refuses to act upon wilderness or
monument proposals in a timely matter. The recent protection in New Mexico had
been stalled in Congress for 10 years and had the approval of the local
people.Public attitude on the Grand Staircase has swung to a wide approval
from Utahns and Americans. Time has shown that Bill Clinton did a marvelous act
and it's encouraging to see BO take a similar approach to set aside places
and protect them for future generations.
Jay,What you call a "threat from the President," I would
call a commitment.
For all of those who moan about the per student expenditure for Utah schools,
just think what increased use of our natural resouces would do to greatly
improve the amount of money that can be used for public education. The state of
Utah is not a bad stewart of the land. The land due the state at statehood
should be given back.
@FT,IMO... even if what Bill Clinton did was good... the WAY he did it was
VERY wrong.What Bill Clinton did (during an election and obviously
intended to influence the election)... was political.... that's NOT what
the Antiquities Act is for.====Google "Bill Clinton
Grand Staircase" (wikipedia) go to "Controversy" section...Quote..."The Monument was declared in September 1996 at the height
of the 1996 presidential election campaign by President Bill Clinton, and was
controversial from the moment of creation. The declaration ceremony was held at
Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, and not in the state of Utah. The Utah
congressional delegation and state governor were notified only 24 hours in
advance"...That's abuse of the Antiquities Act.#1. Obviously political#2. Why keep it a secret from the Governor
of Utah, and Utahs Congressional Delegation till the day of the announcement?
They should have been consulted...#3. Why announce it in Arizona
(instead of Utah) when 100% of the land is in Utah?Hint... Clinton
won Arizona by a margin of 2.2% just a few weeks later. Monument
designation... ZERO dollars. Re-election... priceless...
" . . . humans who live in the American West — don’t like
others making decisions about them without asking their opinion . . . "Humans living in the American West can whine all they want, but that
doesn't negate the fact that we the people of the United States own that
Federal Land . . . And not just some local yokels out west.Get used
to it.Thank goodness for the our far-sighted Progressive Presidents
like TR, FDR, Clinton, and Obama, who care enough about the nation to keep
exploiters from defiling our lands.
@photobeauty, Blanding, UTYes we've seen the good stewards,
Blanding residents are and have been, no thank you.There is school
trust land set aside for eduction, half of which has already been sold, since it
was set aside, so we know what are developer representatives have in mind when
they say "return the land" that we may profit one time, and enrich
ourselves or relatives.
Protecting public lands is like putting money in the bank for future
generations. Give our grandchildren the opportunity to decide if
those lands should be sold to the highest bidders!
GaryO you have demonstrated so well, the arrogance of those who live in states
that control their own land, not beholden to the rest of the populace, claiming
ownership to vast amounts of land in other states reserved for their personal
playground. My Grand Father, Great Grand Father and Great Great
Grand Father were among the first settlers of southeastern Utah. For many years
Moab survived with little impact from cattle, movies and even mining. What has
changed Moab irreparably is the masses of people who believe it to be their
playground. Many are Easterners who have come in to promote the playground
enriching themselves encouraging all the people they can to squeeze into that
little valley to eat, drink and play unmolested by a cowpie, then leave the mess
for the locals. Id rather see a cowpie along the LaSal Mt. trails
than human feces, TP and tire marks on and around slick rock water pockets. The
local yokels you belittle have proven good stewards of the land for generations
and want to continue to do so. Your arrogance calls them names as if they have
no interset in the land they have cared for generations.
Is this a rant about freedom to access to BLM by;ATViers in Southern
Utah, a cattleman who feels he "owns" public lands, or
someone stealing dinosaur footprints outside of Moab?
Congress can already undo any monument they wish. An act of Congress is all it
takes. If it's veto proof, that's the end of it.
I have lived in Utah most of my life. If the "West" is home to all
Americans, then the American "East" ought to be, too. President Obama
should create multiple large monument areas in the Appalachian Mountains, who
cares who owns them! After all, the East is an American heritage, too. I have
always wanted to hike the beautiful forests of the East unhindered by ungodly
humans (much more lush than the mountains in Utah!). Also, since our society is
SOOO infatuated with the 14th Amendment lately, applying it to anything and
everything, if the Federal government owns 66.7% of Virginia, North Caroline,
South Carolina, and Vermont (and all other States east of the Mississippi), then
we, all the citizens, will truly be equal. How will Virginia do with only a
third of their current tax base? Yep, I am sure they will struggle to
effectively educate their children (just as we do in Utah) and juggle having
poorer roads. It is time for the Federal government to give the land to State
of Utah, just as was done in the Eastern States. Otherwise, we are still a
territory and not equal.
"The state of Utah is not a bad stewart of the land. The land due the state
at statehood should be given back."This statement, which
TeaPartiers constantly make, has no basis in reality. The Utah Constitution,
which was enacted to allow Utah statehood, clearly states that Utah relinquishes
any and all claims to federal land holdings in the state. See Article 3,
Section 2. There is no federal land due the state.Second, the state
of Utah is a poor steward of the land and small Utah communities have shown a
propensity to support abusive mining, timber cutting, and oil drilling practices
and even condone illegal activities on federal lands. Examples of such abuses
include the uranium tailings site by Moab, theft of antiquities by residents of
Blanding, extensive damage caused by ATVs in the Caineville/Factory Butte area,
and the mega-network of oil fields that have significantly damaged air quality
in the Uinta Basin.
Interesting how the land that the United States obtained in a treaty with Mexico
and retained title to in the Utah statehood petition is now Utah's land.
It never was Utah's land. That in and of itself is a good argument for the
ability of the federal government to protect land from overreaching developers
in Utah and elsewhere. The Eastern states so often smugly pointed to here
existed before the United States. That is the principle reason that there are
great swaths of federal land in the West and not the East. The Western states
are on land either purchased by the United States or won through treaties as the
result of United States actions. The lands in the East were states first and
then became part of the United States. The difference is obvious and clear, but
it doesn't fit the meme that Utah is "entitled" to the lands owned
by the United States.
Well-written article. Thank you, Mr. Evensen.
It's true that Virginia has contains much less Federal Land than Utah, but
so what?Shenandoah National Park doesn't belong to Virginians
any more than it belongs to any other Americans. It's federal land . . . We
the people of the United States own it.And the Federal Land in Utah
is NOT your land any more than it's my land . . . because we the people own
that too.The locals are "good stewards?!" No we the people
via the US government are good stewards of that land. The locals, on the other
hand, are well-known for robbing ancient graves and otherwise defiling the
federal land in Southern Utah.No matter how great your
grandparents were, you don't have any special right to the Federal Land
in Utah.Get used to it.BTW, the many tourists who come
to visit Utah’s federal land every year would probably be very interested
in knowing about the hatred and disdain “Conservative” Utahns feel
for out-of-staters. How many millions of dollars do you suppose might leave
Utah, if you wise “Conservatives” chase the tourists away?
The Antiquities Act: Protecting Utah from Utahns since 1906.
I doubt that Gary O has ever been to the Grande Staircase Escalante National
monument. I know that I've driven the Burr Trail once or twice and while
the scenery is spectacular, it was spectacular before the designation of the
monument and will be spectacular if someone ever grows a pair and does away with
it and lets Congress put something in there that actually fits the bill.
Otherwise, a whole lot of nothing is protected and inaccessable to most. Oh and
by the way, it would still spectacular even then.I agree with Rocket
Science. Moab is over-run with people that could care less about the area. IF
they did care, they would do away with bike trips, jeep safaries, and helicopter
rides over the area. Talk about urban sprawl out in the boonies. It makes me