Green Room

Government blows $50 million on a park in St. Croix

posted at 8:28 pm on February 10, 2010 by

Let’s recap the current economic state of our country. Our deficit has been quadrupled in one year. The unemployment rate is in double digit territory, the highest its been since 1982. We’ve lost 16,000 jobs a day since the stimulus package was passed. The public debt is around $11 trillion.

None of this keeps Democrats from spending money like Marie Antoinette on meaningless projects. The latest example? Congress blew $50 million on a park in the Caribbean — St. Croix, to be exact. The vote was almost exclusively along party lines, with every Republican and five Democrats voting against it, and 240 Democrats voting for it.

If you are hoping to visit the newest crown jewel in America’s park system chosen by Congress, throw away the car keys and open up your wallet. The 2,900 pristine acres of beachfront property were not cheap — or even in the United States.

The property soliciting accusations of “pork” from critics is the Castle Nugent National Historic Park. It’s in the U.S. Virgin Islands, about a thousand miles from Miami and an expensive jet ride to get there.

Two weeks ago, on a near party line vote, a huge Democratic majority in the House agreed to spend $50 million to buy the former cotton plantation on the island of St. Croix.

“This is a beautiful and important natural and cultural resource that is in danger of being lost forever,” Virgin Island delegate, Donna Christiansen, told House colleagues in January.

… “Now is not the time to spend up to $50 million dollars of the taxpayers’ money to buy nearly 3,000 acres of beachfront property on a Caribbean Island,” said Rep. Doc Hastings, (R-Wash.), ranking Republican on the House Natural Resources Committee. “We can’t afford a price tag for a new park in St Croix, just as many Americans will never be able to afford a visit there.”

Democrats approved the purchase, even though the National Park Service has yet to complete a study on the purchase.

“We don’t have the money to do this,” said Rep Jason Chaffetz, (R – Utah). “Currently the National Park Service has an estimated $9 billion in backlog maintenance on existing parks. Why should the people of Iowa, Rhode Island or California or Utah have to continue to pay and supplement the people there on St Croix for this property?”

Residents of St. Croix of course support this. But most constituents don’t complain about pork when it benefits them.

The land is currently owned by the Gasperi family. Apparently, they want to sell the property to keep it pristine and to prevent developers from taking over:

The Gasperi family maintains it wants to sell the land to the U.S. government in order to protect it from developers. Critics in Congress say there is nothing stopping them from doing that. They don’t have to sell, or the family could impose a conservation easement on the land, preventing development forever.

“Sometimes you have to say, enough is enough,” Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah told the House in January. “We heard it is (the Gasperi’s) desire that this land not be developed, but preserved in its current condition. It seems to me they are in the perfect position to accomplish that goal as landowners.”

If the Gasperis don’t want the land to be developed, then they have every right to keep that from happening. There is no need for the government to get involved, but there was never a time when Democrats saw a bill with pork barrel spending in it that they didn’t like.

And of course, how can this really be justified when the National Park Service hasn’t even surveyed the area and has a $9 billion backlog for parks right here in the United States? Most Americans will never see this park. The parks here that they could afford to see are the ones that apparently need maintenance.

But then, maybe that’s an ideal situation for Democrats. They can afford to go see this beautiful, pristine park in the Caribbean without worrying about seeing any of us uneducated middle-class low-lifes. They certainly aren’t looking out for the best interests of their constituents. They don’t care about what constituents want. They’re completely out of touch with reality… and in control of our wallets.

If that’s not a nightmare scenario, then I don’t know what is.

Hat Tip: Moonbattery

Cross-posted from Cassy’s blog. Stop by for more original commentary or follow her on Twitter!

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The way this administration is shoveling out money ya hafta be a damn fool for being honest. All it would take is a good story, and membership in the democrat party. If you can get a known democrat of some national stature to stand up for you, you could score several hundred million dollars, easy.

Skandia Recluse on February 10, 2010 at 8:43 PM

Cassy, who are the Gasperi’s? I’m going to take a wild-ass guess and say they’re big dem contributors and we’re paying $50 Mill for land worth $5 Mill. More looting of the federal treasury.

PatMac on February 11, 2010 at 7:18 AM

How can we find out who voted FOR this boondoggle?

lovingmyUSA on February 11, 2010 at 11:26 AM

Does Glenn Beck know about this?

lovingmyUSA on February 11, 2010 at 11:26 AM

“lost forever?”

What, was the land going to sink beneath the waves unless the U.S. taxpayer ponied up the dough?

Ridiculous.

cs89 on February 11, 2010 at 12:52 PM

This post has been promoted to HotAir.com.

Comments have been closed on this post but the discussion continues here.

Ed Morrissey on February 11, 2010 at 2:08 PM