Trump is not 'shrinking a monument', he's reversing a shameless federal land grab

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Published by: Dan Calabrese on Tuesday December 05th, 2017

At the request of the state in which it's located.

The media are wetting themselves today because President Trump is "shrinking federal monuments." You'd think he was taking an axe to the Washington Monument and chopping it down.

But there are real monuments and then there are shameless federal land-grabs that get labeled "monuments" before a gullible news media that gladly adopt whatever language a Democratic president uses to spin his actions. The Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments were just that. There are elements of these pieces of land that have some historical value, but Bill Clinton and Barack Obama exploited that to declare massive swaths of land part of the "monuments," which put them almost completely under federal control over the objection of the State of Utah and all of Utah's congressional delegation.

There was no cultural purpose to this. None. It was strictly an excuse to expand federal control over land. It didn't generate broad controversy at the time because the news media was so credulous in their coverage of the actions, reporting them as if they really were the establishment of some cultural treasure for the nation.

We're actually talking about the land the federal government owns. But standard federal land can be used for all kinds of purposes that can provide economic benefits for the state in which it's located. Once it's declared part of a "monument," such activities are tightly restricted. Clinton and Obama made these designations without regard for the economic price Utah would pay.

Yesterday, President Trump did the right thing and reversed these shameless power grabs:

Trump’s presidential proclamations cut Bears Ears by 85 percent and Grand Staircase-Escalante in half. The action is also likely to trigger a legal battle that could alter the government’s approach to conservation.

“I know you love this land the best and you know how to protect it and you know how to conserve this land for many, many generations to come,” Trump told a group of people at Utah’s Capitol in Salt Lake City. “They don’t know your land. They don’t care for your land like you do.”

Utah’s congressional and state leaders lobbied the president to reduce the size of the monuments so the state would have more control on what can be done on the land.

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah praised the announcement and said Trump was giving the people of Utah “a voice in the process.”

Zinke maintained Monday that the move should be seen as correcting an overreach by the federal government.

“We’re not taking one square inch of federal land and transferring it or selling it. It is still federal land, with all the protections of federal land,” Zinke said, adding that the biggest change is that the government is “allowing greater use on the areas that were previously in the monument.”

Understand: Both monuments still exist. They've just been returned to their original size before Clinton and Obama took advantage of their presence to give the federal government far more power of Utah's land than it has any business claiming.

There is no reason to think we're going to see smoke-billowing factories or nuclear power plants built there (although we could probably use more of both). Just because a piece of land only enjoys the standard protections of all federally owned land doesn't mean it's about to become the center of the pollution world.

But remember: Government is the left's god, and no one likes it when their god is diminished even a little bit. That's really what's behind all the hysteria over this. The land will be fine and Utah will be much better off. But today Washington has slightly less power than it had yesterday, and that is causing consternation in the pews at the Church of the Sacred Beltway.

What will these people do when they figure out that their god can't save them?

Dan's new novel, BACKSTOP, is a story of spiritual warfare and baseball. Download it from Amazon here!