DeMint Offers Land Grab Amendment
Obama Administration Set to Seize Millions of Acres in the West | Print | E-mail
Written by Joe Wolverton, II
Wednesday, 03 March 2010 17:35
Not satisfied with placing banks, insurance companies, and the car industry under the control of the federal government, President Obama has turned
his sights on the American West.
This is the startling revelation contained in a letter published Tuesday by the Washington Times penned by South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint. In the
three-page exposé, Senator DeMint cites a 21-page secret Obama Administration document reportedly bearing the designation “Internal Draft-NOT FOR
RELEASE” wherein the President sets forth his plan to federalize more than 10 million acres of land in the Western United States by placing it under
the “protection” of the Department of the Interior. The pernicious nature of this scheme is illuminated when one discovers that the “federal
government owns approximately 650 million acres nationwide, including about 80% of the land in Nevada and 63% of the land in Utah.”
According to DeMint’s description of the memo, the President identifies 14 pieces of land that “might be good candidates” for the unilateral
executive land grab. Of the myriad valid reasons for opposing this action, Senator DeMint lists the loss of jobs (“ranching, forestry, mining, and
energy development”) and the loss of tax revenue that will “dry up” the funds needed to maintain “schools, firehouses, and community
Ostensibly, the proposed seizure of so many valuable tracts of land is justified as a measure necessary for the preservation of habitats and hiking
trails. This would be accomplished by proclaiming the parcels “monuments” as provided for by the Antiquities Act of 1906. Under the provisions of
that Act (officially styled the “Act for the Preservation of American Antiquities), a president is empowered to restrict the use of public land by
way of executive order. The first president to exercise this authority was Theodore Roosevelt who created Devil’s Tower National Monument and the
Grand Canyon National Monument under the Act’s auspices. More recently, George W. Bush cordoned off almost 200,000 square miles of the Pacific
Ocean, proclaiming them to be undersea monuments.
It was the misuse (constitutionally speaking, there is no proper use) of this power by former Presidents Carter and Clinton that prompted
Representative Robert Bishop (R-Utah) to blow the whistle on this inchoate plan for a massive federal land grab. During the Carter Administration,
over 56 million acres of oil-rich Alaskan wilderness was appropriated by the executive branch and slapped with the “monument” label. So heinous
and controversial was this overreaching that Congress weakened the Antiquities Act by passage of the Alaska National Interests Lands Conservation Act
requiring Congressional approval for any seizure of land over 5,000 acres.
As for President Clinton, he ordered such forfeitures 22 times during his eight years in the White House, locking away 5.9 million acres all told
throughout the country. It is one of these uses that is near and dear to the heart of Representative Bishop. In 1996, Bill Clinton created the Grand
Staircase-Escalante National Monument by taking control of 1.9 million acres of land in southern Utah. Over 135,000 acres of this land was being
leased by private developers were producing over 65,000 barrels of oil a year from five active wells. Bill Clinton’s fiat shut down those operations
and capped those wells for good, depriving the country of a significant source of domestic energy.
Representative Bishop fears that if he hadn’t made the memo public then President Obama would have followed his predecessors and latched onto
millions of square miles of valuable property. The editori