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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

May 20, 2014 - 7:54 am

A Western lawmaker urged President Obama from once again using the 1906 Antiquities Act to unilaterally designate national monuments, this time at the volatile U.S.-Mexico border.

The White House announced that Wednesday Obama will host an event at the Interior Department to sign a proclamation establishing the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in south-central New Mexico.

“By establishing the monument, the President will permanently protect more than 496,000 acres to preserve the prehistoric, historic, and scientific values of the area for the benefit of all Americans,” the White House said. “A recent independent study found that a new national monument could generate $7.4 million in new economic activity annually from new visitors and business opportunities while preserving access for sportsmen, ranchers, and recreational users.”

But Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) fired off a letter to Obama yesterday arguing that the monument lacks local support and could impede the Border Patrol and local law enforcement’s ability to conduct security operations.

“Unresolved security gaps along the border and a recent violent attack of a U.S. National Park Service (NPS) employee at Chiracahua National Monument raise serious concerns about safety and ongoing violence along the border. In light of the unresolved criminal activity taking place on federal land along the border, I am asking the Administration to abandon any efforts to move forward with new national monument designations,” Bishop wrote.

“It’s irresponsible to focus efforts on new land designations rather than finding solutions to existing criminal activities plaguing the border. I am concerned that new federal land designations along the southern border will only add to the ongoing criminal activity already taking place. New and restrictive federal land designations on the border will further hamper the U.S. Border Patrol’s ability to conduct routine patrols and apprehensions, allowing drug smuggling and human trafficking to occur on our federal land,” he continued. “As a sovereign country, this is inexcusable. Statistics prove that areas where the Border Patrol has unfettered access are among the safest and secure areas along the southern border. Areas with strict federal land policies that block the USBP from having necessary access are among the most highly trafficked routes.”

Obama has been making frequent use of Teddy Roosevelt’s act to bypass legislative review on land designations.

In March, he declared 1,665 acres along the Mendocino coastline in Northern California protected land — an action that was already working its way through Congress.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell recently led a “listening tour” of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peak area of southern New Mexico, Bishop noted.

“Despite local opposition, interest groups and the Department are pushing a 600,000-acre national monument via the Antiquities Act and circumventing an open and transparent congressional process,” the congressman said.

The Albuquerque Journal reported that a coalition of cattle ranchers and county sheriffs have been expressing vocal opposition to the plan that would swallow up 20 percent of Doña Ana County — nearly half a million acres. “It’s going to tie up a huge portion of land that is going to create an avenue of access for illegal activity,” Doña Ana County Sheriff Todd Garrison said. “It’s already happening in Arizona. Why would we think it’s not going to happen here?”

“It’s time to revisit our conservation policies along the United States-Mexico border.  The current system harms border patrol agents, land managers, and environmental advocates.  The only groups that benefit under the current system are the drug smugglers and human traffickers. We can do better. Our new approach to conservation must involve local communities, Congress, and multiple agencies within the executive branch.  The Antiquities Act is not the answer,” Bishop continued.

“I hope that we can work together to address the deteriorating security situation along the United States-Mexico border.  Protecting the homeland and preserving the environment are not mutually exclusive, but environmental laws cannot and should not be used to impede and limit Border Patrol activities and pursuits.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   

Given the attitude of this administration toward illegal immigration from the south, why would anyone doubt it's an objective of this action rather than an unintended consequence. If so that explains why Obama wouldn't wait for Congressional approval, which might not be forthcoming at all once the hazards of the area were publicly aired.
30 weeks ago
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All Comments   (11)
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Start The Rally:
STEP DOWN MR OBAMA !
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maybe the county involved should take every National Park Service Ranger that shows on a one way trip to the nearest state border and tell them if they return they get a free trip to jail.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is classic Obama 'smash in your face' retaliation for the recent Bundy vs BLM faceoff.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Considering that the Chicago Democratic machine and the Black Liberation movement is pro thug, it's not hard to get to the point of releasing thousands of illegal alien criminals onto our streets and allowing a corridor for the influx of narcotrafacantes into our country.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
So king george is making another safe zone for coyotes and I'm not talking about the four legged kind.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
well, one benefit {sarc}: locals and the state won't be in charge of the environmental clean up from the human traffickers and drug smugglers.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dems...die-hard supporters of human trafficking and sex trade slavery...otherwise they would actually do something to stop it other than institutionalize it.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Now the 1906 Antiquities Act? Is there any organ of the Federal government that the Obama administration has not dragooned into the service of its agenda?
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Everything this failed President does is to the detriment to the Country. Remember the Party that has brought this to you, Obama and the Democrats are TRYING to ruin the country, their can be no other reason.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment

Given the attitude of this administration toward illegal immigration from the south, why would anyone doubt it's an objective of this action rather than an unintended consequence. If so that explains why Obama wouldn't wait for Congressional approval, which might not be forthcoming at all once the hazards of the area were publicly aired.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
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