Oh, good: Interior still acquiring new land and creating monuments, nevermind sequestration warnings

posted at 5:21 pm on May 1, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

The federal government is in debt up to their (our!) eyeballs, and yet it has more land on its hands than it knows what to do with (except, you know, bar private individuals and citizens from putting the lands to productive uses). The federal estate covers almost a third of the surface area of the United States, but it is in no way exempt from the deficient funding, top-down regulatory hindrance, and slow, bureaucratic politicking that goes down in all other areas of the government — and in this case, the results are often environmental degradation. After sequestration especially, the Department of Interior made it all too clear that they were going to be even more hard-pressed to take proper care of the lands within their jurisdiction, so it’s really comforting that the federal government hasn’t actually gotten around to bringing an end to their relentless prowl to acquire still more lands and properties for federal supervision. Wait… what?

Two months after the sequester hit, the Department of Interior continues to warn of coast-to-coast cuts for the country’s national parks — and even the partial shutdown of a critical flood warning system.

But Sen. Tom Coburn says there’s “no shortage of potential savings,” pointing out that the department is nevertheless spending millions on newly created monuments and landmarks. …

“It makes little sense to expand the number of sites at the same time the budget of every other park is being cut and visitors are being turned away from visiting the White House,” Coburn wrote.

Coburn pointedly questioned department efforts to name new sites and expand others — decisions that will contribute to the department’s annual costs. Coburn said the National Park Service has designated 13 new historic landmarks and three new monuments since the sequester hit March 1. …

Coburn also said the NPS is trying to acquire new land elsewhere for existing parks, and urged the department to “cease” until normal access to U.S. parks has been restored.

It is tremendously irresponsible for the federal government to be in the business of adding to the federal estate when we can’t even afford to to properly take care of the parks and properties they already own. The sequester was designed to implement much of the Interior Department budget cutting line-by-line, so that major parks are all now seeing a little taken off the top of their individual budgets, rather than Interior having a sum of money to dish out at their discretion — which would have been vastly preferable. President Obama’s refusal to agree to more flexibility in sequestration’s implementation just goes to show how much this was about making the cuts as visible, painful, and widespread as possible, because no way can they allow Americans to realize that they can ever do without big government running the show!

Except that, in the case of America’s great outdoors, we very often can. There are plenty of parks and properties that could do very well if they were sold-or-leased and privately operated, which would also allow for much more responsive and discerning environmental stewardship. The federal government needs to start getting rid of land, not acquiring more, and stop infringing on local economies and communities with their micro-level political power grabs while contributing to the national deficit.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

More Agenda 21. Grabbing up as much land as possible.

katy on May 1, 2013 at 5:23 PM

Washington, DC aside, why does the federal government own any land..?

affenhauer on May 1, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Ya know, I think the GOP has stumbled upon a brilliant way to force some budget cuts. First we had it at the FAA, now at Interior:

1) Cut everything by XX%
2) People start screeching
3) You point out that “well, here’s where you could have saved that money”
4) Pass legislation reallocating the would-have-been-wasted funds to actual good stuff
5) Obama signs it.

If Step 2 doesn’t happen, we’ve won. If step 4 doesn’t happen, point out that “the democrats wouldn’t let us reopen the parks!”. If step 5 doesn’t happen, scream and shout that “Obama wouldn’t let us reopen the parks!”

Mohonri on May 1, 2013 at 5:37 PM

The federal government needs to start getting rid of land, not acquiring more, and stop infringing on local economies and communities with their micro-level political power grabs while contributing to the national deficit.

Le bravo, Erika!

More Agenda 21. Grabbing up as much land as possible.

katy on May 1, 2013 at 5:23 PM

Yup. Filthy sob’s.

petefrt on May 1, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Washington, DC aside, why does the federal government own any land..?

affenhauer on May 1, 2013 at 5:27 PM

So they can hire people to manage it.

WryTrvllr on May 1, 2013 at 5:41 PM

And the really sad thing (and if you’re a liberal you would be intellectually dishonest to admit it) the properties would have been LESS developed and LESS crowded and BETTER managed if the gubmint had just kept their grubby paws off….

WryTrvllr on May 1, 2013 at 5:45 PM

deny it…sorry

WryTrvllr on May 1, 2013 at 5:46 PM

Katy got it on comment number one.

tom daschle concerned on May 1, 2013 at 5:47 PM

I suggest either:

1. The US Government sells all its lands back to the states in which the land is located, or

2. The US Government turns over operations to private, competitively bid contractors. Present US park employees would have first dibs on jobs, now private, assuming they are qualified. A small staff of government employees would remain to handle oversight of private companies.

#2 would shift the burden of federal employees from the government to the private secor. This would increase tax revenue because now the government would not have to pay these employees and the private contractor would pay taxes on profits. I expect that the private sector would be more efficient, being profit oriented, than the employees that have now no or little accountability.

If #1 goes ahead, I suggest the sale be contingent on the states adopting #2 making park operations private.

I’d like to see this across the board with as many agencies as possible.

billrowe on May 1, 2013 at 5:52 PM

The federal government needs to start getting rid of land, not acquiring more, and stop infringing on local economies and communities with their micro-level political power grabs while contributing to the national deficit.

That would be giving up power. Not gonna happen. They can’t even get rid of empty buildings that we are paying for, or empty bank accounts with monthly fees. How could this clown troupe ever actually get rid of LAND?

iurockhead on May 1, 2013 at 5:54 PM

And you wonder why “tin hats” believe government is buying up ammunition in order to drive prices sky high.

GarandFan on May 1, 2013 at 5:55 PM

They own most of the West. Why don’t we give it back to the Native Americans? At least they are savvy businessmen and would let energy companies lease it back!

PattyJ on May 1, 2013 at 6:04 PM

Since I cancelled satellite I’m getting reaquinted with OTA TV. Been watching PBS distort history and embellish socialism via a retelling of Ken Burns’ old dust bowl documentary. They are pulling out all the stops to make it as current to events and policy initiatives as possible. Fascinating in a “we need to defund this crap” kind of way.

Having read “The Roosevelt Myth” and seeing how dems are operating right now it confirms what we know about them. Fcae it, they are communists that won’t let us define them as such. Progressive, European socialists, whatever. They want to control people by any means necessary.

DanMan on May 1, 2013 at 6:12 PM

LOVELY picture of the Tetons :)

Jackalope on May 1, 2013 at 6:25 PM

National Park lands sure do make GREAT COLLATERAL for our debt!

Wouldn’t the Chinese love to get hold of some of the natural resources under the ground?

PappyD61 on May 1, 2013 at 6:28 PM

Why can’t I post links on here????

katy on May 1, 2013 at 6:39 PM

the Federal government should sell at least 90% of the land it holds. States hold too much land as well.

forest on May 1, 2013 at 7:08 PM

Why can’t I post links on here????

katy on May 1, 2013 at 6:39 PM

If you are trying to post CNN or CNBC links, HA has judged those sources unreliable and the whole post will be blocked.

slickwillie2001 on May 1, 2013 at 7:49 PM

New Mexico …..dopes are going for a land grab in Taos Co. . Believe me
they can’t manage any of the land they now ” own ” . But call it a National
Monument and the morons cheer . The locals don’t care ( they foul their
turf with trash galore ) not realizing that there are no tax $s for the county
in this grab . These are the good folks that write about how they can hear
their lettuce scream when cut it in their gardens .
Susanna Martinez R Gov. has injected a good bit of sanity in an otherwise
nuts state .
If only they could get the idea that cocktail hour doesn’t start at 11am !

Lucano on May 1, 2013 at 8:27 PM

That’s an interesting photo shot on the home page.

Cleombrotus on May 1, 2013 at 9:25 PM

I live just over the hill to the left of that cover photo. Just love it in the summer. Especially if summer comes on a weekend!

IdahoAl on May 1, 2013 at 10:35 PM

slickwillie2001 on May 1, 2013 at 7:49 PM

Thanks. It was a cbnc link

katy on May 1, 2013 at 11:09 PM

cnbc duh

katy on May 1, 2013 at 11:09 PM

It is tremendously irresponsible for the federal government to be in the business of adding to the federal estate when we can’t even afford to to properly take care of the parks and properties they already own.

FIFY, Erika.

Washington, DC aside, why does the federal government own any land..?

affenhauer on May 1, 2013 at 5:27 PM

There are *some* legitimate reasons, including military bases and ranges. And, I don’t mind a few national parks. One third of the land area of the US, though? Wow.

That would be giving up power. Not gonna happen.

iurockhead on May 1, 2013 at 5:54 PM

BINGO!

GWB on May 2, 2013 at 10:20 AM

The whole idea of these land grabs really frosts me !
Great piece Erika , wish it got more attention .

Lucano on May 2, 2013 at 10:53 AM