Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) takes to the Senate floor to discuss a leaked document that says the President intends to take large tracks of land and call them monuments. By doing so the tracks of land will not be able to be used for energy exploration or other uses.
This is not anything new as President President Clinton did a similar act to 5.9 million acres calling the land national monuments without going through congressional legislation. This doesn’t seem so bad to have additional land set aside for all to enjoy but turns out much of the land was restricted from public use because the Parks Service had suffered budged cuts. In fact the Parks Service is scheduled to close several National Parks because of funding problems. In addition, One of the monuments, Grande Staircase-Escalante in Utah, was producing 65,000 barrels of oil per year.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) offered an amendment to stop President Obama from seizing more public land by designating them as “monuments.” Such action would immediately halt use of the lands for mining, forestry, ranching activities, and energy development which would negatively affect employment and local tax bases. Following his speech, the Democrat majority voted against the amendment, 58-38.
One thing is certain in politics, when all eyes are focused on other issues, like health care reform, politicians like to use the opportunity to make unilateral decisions that would be unpopular to the population at large. A land grab is one of them.