Oh, joy: Obama creates five new new national monuments

posted at 6:01 pm on March 25, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Now, you might be tempted to wonder: Who could possibly find a reason to raise a partisan uproar over this?

Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad for escaping slaves. Charles Young and the Buffalo Soldiers. The Rio Grande del Norte in New Mexico. The San Juan Islands off Washington State. The state of Delaware.

These are the places and people honored with new national monuments created Monday by President Obama.

“These sites honor the pioneering heroes, spectacular landscapes and rich history that have shaped our extraordinary country,” Obama said in a statement. “By designating these national monuments today, we will ensure they will continue to inspire and be enjoyed by generations of Americans to come.”

‘Cause hey, everybody likes historical monuments and beautiful parks, and it’s not like any individual one costs a ton of money, relatively speaking. Sounds pretty innocuous, right?

The hell it is. For anyone who actually cares about the state of our natural landscapes and isn’t just trying to find excuses to expand the bureaucracy’s reach, the federal government is a notoriously poor steward of the full one-third of United States’ surface area it already owns, and there are mechanisms in place through which they can keep acquiring more without actually finding a way to pay for it all. Hint: Effective conservation ain’t free, and deferred maintenance, poor management, lack of funds, and wildly deficient and highly political land-use policies (with often disastrous accompanying unintended consequences) are all hallmarks of the federal government’s oversight.

The federal government needs to start shedding deeds, not acquiring more of them; if these areas’ new designations are so very valuable for local economies, why not let states and localities make their own parks and monuments? Why not sell them to private companies, in trust, to run at a private-sector profit? There are real and excellent alternatives to federal management, and as seductive as it is to blindly believe that federal oversight is the best way to protect natural resources, the waste, abuse, and inefficiency that run rampant in their rest of their operations are just as prevalent in their management of the great outdoors. It’s not that these parks and/or monuments don’t merit preservation — they definitely do — but the federal government isn’t always the best man for the job.

What’s more, the president is going about this in his typical non-transparent and cost-obfuscating fashion. Perfect.

Rep. Doc Hastings, a Washington State Republican, said the expansion of the national parks makes no sense – especially considering Mr. Obama’s decision to close the White House doors to public tours because of recent sequester budget cuts.

“President Obama has closed the White House to public tours but he’s unilaterally ordering the National Park Service to spend scarce dollars on little-known, privately owned property in Delaware,” Mr. Hastings said. …

“Especially troubling are the inclusion of private property in these new monuments and the lack of transparency that surrounds monument designations where the White House and president work in secret and are able to thwart public review, public comment and consideration of environmental and economic impacts,” Mr. Hastings said.

Mr. Obama will use the 1906 Antiquities Act to designate the national monuments. Sixteen presidents have used the law — from Theodore Roosevelt to Mr. Obama — to protect natural, historical and cultural areas such as the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty, but recent Republican Presidents George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon have preferred to allow Congress to make those designations.


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On the plus side, all of Delaware is now closed due to sequestration. When pressed for comment, Vice-President Biden said “never heard of the place.”

Gingotts on March 25, 2013 at 6:09 PM

Get real – the missus didn’t want the great unwashed trampling all over HER house!

OldEnglish on March 25, 2013 at 6:09 PM

Delaware is a national treasure? The folks that think Joseph Robinette Biden is worth six terms live in a place that is a treasure? get out!! I’d say its a fever swamp.

DanMan on March 25, 2013 at 6:12 PM

1. Mount Obama
2. The Obama River
3. Obama Glacier Park
4. Obama Winds Federal Golf Course
5. Michelle Obama Federal Dog Park

portlandon on March 25, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Beyonce’s Bitchin’ Butt(e) must be one of them.

profitsbeard on March 25, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Hey Barry! When are you going to secure the Saguaro National Park south of I-8 so that I can visit it without fear of being shot by human or drug smugglers?

I’m surprised you didn’t name your Hawaii home as a national monument.

GarandFan on March 25, 2013 at 6:13 PM

I do wonder if the Environmental Greeny Wackos have
behind the scenes input sumpin sumpin on dis!!

canopfor on March 25, 2013 at 6:15 PM

A lot of these parks/monuments hold little interest to the public. Even in the best of times, they lack the funding to staff and maintain. (I know a lot of NPS Supervisors.)

Blake on March 25, 2013 at 6:17 PM

Whoops, sorry. Gotta cancel the Keystone pipeline, since it will interfere with a couple new monuments.

The Rogue Tomato on March 25, 2013 at 6:20 PM

America’s Best Idea

happytobehere on March 25, 2013 at 6:20 PM

Eminent domain strikes again.

Cindy Munford on March 25, 2013 at 6:21 PM

On the plus side, all of Delaware is now closed due to sequestration. When pressed for comment, Vice-President Biden said “never heard of the place.”

Gingotts on March 25, 2013 at 6:09 PM

Oh, he’s heard about Delaware, all right! This story broke Saturday, but the Democrat National Media has censored the story…

As VP, Biden Has Been Flying To Delaware on the Weekends

Vice President Biden has been flying home to Wilmington, Delaware most weekends at enormous expense to taxpayers, even though he has an exclusive government-provided residence in Washington.

Biden himself acknowledged the flights during recent remarks to the National Association of Attorneys General, noting that the sequester would force him to temporarily alter his expensive habit and use the train instead.

-snip-

The cost of flying Air Force Two, a military version of the Boeing 757-200, amounts to about $8,800 per hour, according to the most recent federal data.

The distance between Washington and Wilmington is only about a hundred miles, but it’s safe to assume that between flying time and the time spent on the takeoff and landing, the total flight takes at least 45 minutes. That would amount to a roundtrip cost to taxpayers of about $13,200.

Life is Good, if you belong to the Correct Party!

Del Dolemonte on March 25, 2013 at 6:23 PM

5. Michelle Obama Federal Dog Park

portlandon on March 25, 2013 at 6:12 PM

I ain’t eatin’ in the snack bar here. Just sayin’

Oldnuke on March 25, 2013 at 6:24 PM

The first national monument is so cool, everything that came after is meh.

cozmo on March 25, 2013 at 6:25 PM

Wait, why are there no more White House tours again?

John the Libertarian on March 25, 2013 at 6:26 PM

How much money could the US make by selling off half the land it owns? Would it put a dent in the national debt?

JellyToast on March 25, 2013 at 6:27 PM

What the hell, who needs Delaware?

squint on March 25, 2013 at 6:30 PM

I’m sure his face will appear all over each one. You know he really wants to add his face to Mt. Rushmore.

Philly on March 25, 2013 at 6:33 PM

squint on March 25, 2013 at 6:30 PM

I have asked that question almost as long as I’ve been around.

cozmo on March 25, 2013 at 6:35 PM

At least now we can spread the pain on the next sequestration and shut down some other sites. Who knew Delaware was ever open?

De Oppresso Liber on March 25, 2013 at 6:36 PM

No Authority

federal governance deja vu

John Kettlewell on March 25, 2013 at 6:37 PM

It’s not that these parks and/or monuments don’t merit preservation — they definitely do — but the federal government isn’t always the best man for the job.

Why do they merit preservation by government?

chemman on March 25, 2013 at 6:46 PM

Wait, why are there no more White House tours again?

John the Libertarian on March 25, 2013 at 6:26 PM

How droll.

His Majesty wishes to acquire more lands, as he should, being the most powerful monarch of the West, and he is even planning to tame them and allow subjects to learn important civic lessons from them — to share them with the unwashed rabble. And you complain?

As far as the palace tours go, that discipline is necessary to teach people who is and who is not King — a correction that would not be necessary if the lords were well behaved and did as they were told without whining like children.

Axe on March 25, 2013 at 6:48 PM

It’s not the monuments I have the problem with. It’s the massive land grab which goes with it. Plus shutting down anything outside which may upset the pristine atmosphere.

CW20 on March 25, 2013 at 6:55 PM

A National Park in Delaware has been the dream of our Democrat Senators for years (whining that “Delaware is the only state without a National Park”). What they’ve done is cobble together 3 important state sites to make a “national monument”. It’s stupid, wasteful and a sop to the Senators who back Obama’s policies 100%. I hope the state regrets ceding control to the feds.

mathgal60 on March 25, 2013 at 7:27 PM

I’m sure every one of these locations is sitting on top of a sea of oil and/or natural gas.

CurtZHP on March 25, 2013 at 7:41 PM

The US debit should be resolved by selling off federal lands to the highest bidder.

Count to 10 on March 25, 2013 at 7:59 PM

The US debit should be resolved by selling off federal lands to the highest bidder.

Count to 10 on March 25, 2013 at 7:59 PM

You mean like China? Mexico? How about the Nigerian bid? This is why the USA needs to break up into smaller countries, there is always someone advocating flooding the Continent with more 3rd World races.

Bulletchaser on March 25, 2013 at 8:10 PM

5. Michelle Obama Federal Dog Park

portlandon on March 25, 2013 at 6:12 PM

I ain’t eatin’ in the snack bar here. Just sayin’

Oldnuke on March 25, 2013 at 6:24 PM

Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, “Gonna have a hot dog for lunch,” don’t it?

Solaratov on March 25, 2013 at 8:16 PM

1. LBGT National Geyser Monument.
2. Undocumented Wetland National Park.
3. The Memorial Drone Landing Salt Flats.
4. Elena Kagen Softball Plains.
5. The Teddy Kennedy Chappaquiddick Inlet Career Preserve

profitsbeard on March 25, 2013 at 8:30 PM

…one JugEar joke…after another!

KOOLAID2 on March 25, 2013 at 10:56 PM

As one who has an RV and loves to travel through the states I find our National Parks and monuments awesome. No one would care about them if not for the govenment taking care of them.

Bullhead on March 26, 2013 at 12:12 AM

1. Mount Obama
2. The Obama River
3. Obama Glacier Park
4. Obama Winds Federal Golf Course
5. Michelle Obama Federal Dog Park

portlandon on March 25, 2013 at 6:12 PM

A zone in the North Atlantic for a Federal Lobshter Reserve seems appropriate for Big Mooch.

slickwillie2001 on March 26, 2013 at 12:24 AM

You may also never, ever, ever drill, mine, harvest natural resources from a national monument – which is the true agenda.

PJ Emeritus on March 26, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Ahh, so tell me again, why isn’t the White House a National Monument? We’re opening new monuments that people never go to but closing the White House that has been having tours for years? What a clown. Maybe he’ll turn the West Bank and Gaza Strip into National Monuments next (God knows we’ve given them enough money to pay for those sand traps).

RedManBlueState on March 26, 2013 at 12:39 PM