Another piece worth reading by Jim Stiles of the Canyon Country Zephyr. Here’s the link.
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell came to Utah to hear both sides of the issue. But PLEASE…let’s be honest. No one thought Jewell would come down on the side of monument opponents. And as the presidential election approached and almost all the pundits were predicting a Hillary landslide of “historic proportions,” Bears Ears National Monument felt like a foregone conclusion. President Obama would make the proclamation, President Clinton would implement it.
Then November 8 happened.
Knowing that a Trump administration would be taking office in January and had already expressed its specific opposition to the monument, would Obama create the monument anyway?
He did. On December 28, the proclamation decreed a 1.35 million acre Bears Ears National Monument.
Stiles then goes back and talks about a Bush administration last-minute group of lease sales in 2008.
“The Salt Lake Tribune noted that: ” DeChristopher won bids on 22,000 acres in Utah’s red rock country, near Arches and Canyonlands national parks.” Environmentalists had accused the Bush administration of trying to ram through the sale of the environmentally sensitive land before President Obama was sworn in.”
Later, in January 2009, as Obama took the oath, environmentalists without exception believed that the new administration should not be bound or conflicted by the “last minute” efforts of the previous administration to impose its will on the next and contrary to the stated environmental objectives of the new Interior Department.
And months later, as expected by everyone, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that, “Obama’s Interior Department eventually ruled that its predecessor had incorrectly administered the lease sale and yanked the parcels off the auction block.”
In 2008, Republicans were doing what they’re philosophically bound to do. In 2016. It was the Democrats playing the exact same strategy, with the shoe on the other foot.
The idea that there is a fundamental difference of opinion as to how public lands should be utilized is no secret. The fact that so many environmentalists are acting shocked and outraged is a tad silly.
Of course they aren’t really shocked- they are telling that story to make political points and attract donations.. to feed political campaigns to elect more friends to get more of what they want next time. I don’t blame them. In fact, I don’t really blame anyone, because the way the world has gone it’s very hard to find both sides of any given story when you are not an expert (except in the areas we cover in this blog). This environment is a petri dish into which partisanites (or partinsanities as I call them) are uniquely adapted to flourish. The secret that partinsanities won’t tell you in their media (and almost all non-local media is theirs nowadays, whether they admit it or not) is that there are many things about public lands that people agree on, and not every idea of the “other” party is bad.
Anyway, Stiles has an interesting take, and what I didn’t understand until now was that both of these last minute deals were in the same area..maybe it’s some kind of revenge scenario for the lease sales of 2009? How did the area become “winner takes all until next election” instead of “let’s work it out?”. I wonder how that dynamic gets started and how it can be turned around.