"In light of federal failures, it is incomprehensible that the United States Congress is entertaining proposals that expand federal authority over oil and gas drilling in state water and lands long regulated by states... Given the track record, putting the federal government in charge of energy production on state land and waters not only breaks years of successful precedent and threatens the 10th Amendment to the United Sates Constitution, but it also undermines common sense and threatens the environmental and economy security of our state's citizens."
This power grab, masquerading as a feel-good, all-American recreation program, comes on top of a separate, property-usurping initiative exposed by GOP Rep. Robert Bishop and Sen. Jim DeMint earlier this spring. According to an internal, 21-page Obama administration memo, 17 energy-rich areas in 11 states have been targeted as potential federal "monuments." The lives of coyotes, deer and prairie dogs would be elevated above states' needs to generate jobs, tourism business and energy solutions.
Take my home state of Colorado. The Obama administration is considering locking up some 380,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management land and private land in Colorado under the 1906 Antiquities Act. The Vermillion Basin and the Alpine Triangle would be shut off to mining, hunting, grazing, oil and gas development and recreational activities. Alan Foutz, president of the Colorado Farm Bureau, blasted the administration's meddling: "Deer and elk populations are thriving, and we in Colorado don't need help from the federal government in order to manage them effectively."
Indeed, the feds have enough trouble as it is managing the vast amount of land they already control. As the Washington, D.C.-based Americans for Limited Government group, which defends private property rights, points out: "The (National Park Service) claims it would need about $9.5 billion just to clear its backlog of the necessary improvements and repairs. At a time when our existing national parks are suffering, it doesn't make sense for the federal government to grab new lands."
The bureaucrats behind Obama's "Great Outdoors Initiative" plan on wrapping up their public comment solicitation by November 15. The initiative's taxpayer-funded website has been dominated by left-wing environmental activists proposing human population reduction, private property confiscation, and gun bans, hunting bans and vehicle bans in national parks. It's time for private property owners to send their own loud, clear message to the land-hungry feds: Take a hike.