I realize that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is currently polling somewhere in low to middle single digits for the Democratic nomination, but she’s still one of the “big names” being considered so it’s worth keeping an eye on what she’s up to. While other candidates are busying flogging the Medicare for All line or Free Stuff For All My Friends, Warren is trying to generate some headlines on a different topic. She’d like to talk to you about public lands and how we use (or don’t use) them. And boy howdy, does she have some big plans in store if she’s elected. Or I should more accurately say, Big Government plans. She explains them at Medium.
But today, those [public] lands are under threat. The Trump administration is busy selling off our public lands to the oil, gas and coal industries for pennies on the dollar — expanding fossil fuel extraction that destroys pristine sites across the country while pouring an accelerant on our climate crisis.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We must not allow corporations to pillage our public lands and leave taxpayers to clean up the mess. All of us — local communities and tribes, hunters and anglers, ranchers and weekend backpackers — must work together to manage and protect our shared heritage. That’s why today I’m rolling out my plan to protect our public lands and preserve wild, natural places for future generations.
Whenever you hear a Democrat saying they’re going to “protect” something, that generally means locking it up and/or regulating it to death. Warren is (mostly) no exception in this case. Let’s just go over the highlights for a moment.
Right off the bat, she goes for the low hanging fruit and promises that on day one of her presidency she will “sign an executive order that says no more drilling — a total moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases, including for drilling offshore and on public lands.” This comes after she claims that President Tump has been “selling off our public lands to the oil, gas and coal industries for pennies on the dollar.” I wonder if any journalists will get around to asking Warren to provide one instance where federally held public land has been sold to anyone lately, including companies in the oil and gas industry. Those lands are leased. There’s a big difference.
Notice also that after all the complaints by Democrats about Donald Trump doing so much by executive order, the very first promise that Warren makes is to do the exact same thing rather than working with Congress to accomplish a policy goal by way of new legislation. In any event, you can forget about America’s recent rise to be the global leader in oil and natural gas production, eliminating our crippling dependence on foreign governments, many of whom don’t care for us very much. In Warren’s America, that’s all over.
But protecting public lands from development only applies to the fossil fuel industry. After spending paragraphs talking about the importance of preserving these lands in their natural state for hikers, hunters, and fisherman, Warren curiously turns around and promises she will order the construction of solar, wind and geothermal energy projects amounting to 10% of the country’s grid needs… on public lands. Does she think wind farms and fields of solar panels magically appear when summoned? They have to be built and later maintained and operated That requires roads and vehicles and people coming and going constantly. Amazing logic on display here.
Her next promise involves the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments which were shrunk under President Trump. “As president, I will use my authorities under the Antiquities Act to restore protections to both monuments and any other national monuments targeted by this Administration.” Well, those “monuments” didn’t qualify as monuments under the Antiquities Act, but don’t let that stop you. In other words, we’ll just start a ping pong match whenever the presidency changes parties, flopping these tracts of land back and forth? How about working with Congress to make them National Parks as should have been done in the first place, assuming you want those areas closed off? Nope. Forget that. She’ll go right back to Executive power and do it with the phone and the pen.
There’s more, with plenty of spending for land and water conservation programs, along with the creation of a 10,000-person “21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps.” You can read it for yourself. But all of it either drives any progress we’ve made in reverse or is insane nonsense. This single document alone should be more than enough reason to make sure this maniac never gets within smelling distance of the Oval Office.