Progressive/statist/altruists are “all about control” – that is, indeed, where the “statist” portion of the appellation arises. It is truly remarkable how much of the nation’s lands our federal government “controls.”
In just one of Obama’s latest efforts to thumb his nose at Trump and appease the environmental lobby, he used his executive authority to decree two more national monuments, taking 1.65 million more acres of Western land for management by the federal government. The new Bear Ears Buttes monument includes 1.35 million acres of Utah and the Gold Butte monument includes about 300,000 acres in Nevada. That makes a total of 553 million acres of national lands and waters that Obama has repurposed for conservation and protection using the 1906 Antiquities act, more than any other president.
Like the national debt, to which Obama also added more than any other president, the numbers are so large that the average (or even the above average) American cannot comprehend their true magnitude. The amount of land is so vast that it befuddles the mind. If I tell you that the federal government controls 954,000 square miles in just the Western states alone, it is meaningless. It is also meaningless to append that the total acreage adds up to 28% of the nation’s total surface.
Fortunately, I am here to help.
Nothing gives one a grasp of the facts like “a picture worth a thousand words.” Here are some pictures of how much of the nation’s lands are controlled by the federal government. The federal government controls more land in the Western states than either private American citizens or the states themselves.
If you want to know why Obama only took 300,000 acres in Nevada compared to 1.35 million acres of Utah, it is because the federal government already controls nearly 85% of Nevada. Three hundred thousand acres just ices the cake. (Harry Reid is happy. He didn’t really “leave” Washington. Washington, DC owns his state.)
No one that I know of is arguing that the Bear Ears Buttes do not contain precious antiquities worth preserving. There are many stunning and ancient petroglyphs. However, it was totally unnecessary to grab 1.35 million contiguous acres to protect them.
The map below shows which federal agencies control these vast swaths of land. Pay particular attention to California, please.
You may be surprised to learn that the National Parks System controls the least amount of these federal lands.
So what about my home state of California? They are preparing to leave the “union.” That will be very difficult for many reasons, not the least of which is that American citizens in the remaining states own nearly half of the state (45.3%). Will they “buy it?” That would just about pay off the national debt.
Oh, the laughs we are going to have during the Trump presidency!