They have this president’s number. They know where he is coming from and what he is capable of.
On Thursday, Nevada’s four Republican congressional representatives announced that they are introducing the Nevada Land Sovereignty Act of 2015, which would prevent the president designating or expanding national monuments by executive action without Congress approving. Bill Clinton did just that in 1996 by creating the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Utah, and Obama did it last year with the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument in California and with the Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks in New Mexico.
On Friday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced a bill that would have permitted oil production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
On Sunday, while on the way to India, Obama placed off limits for oil and natural drilling 13 million acres of land in the 19.8 million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Technically he called on Congress to designate the area a wilderness area, the most restrictive designation, but the Interior Department intends to issue no permits for drilling there, effectively stopping any exploration immediately.
The war on oil and gas continues.
“It’s clear this administration does not care about us, and sees us as nothing but a territory. The promises made to us at statehood, and since then, mean absolutely nothing to them. I cannot understand why this administration is willing to negotiate with Iran, but not Alaska,” Murkowski said in a statement. Now, where have I heard that before?
“By shutting the door on any energy production in the coastal plain of ANWR, President Obama has once again used the stroke of a pen to unilaterally disregard U.S. energy security and the needs of local economies,” said Western Caucus Chairman Rep. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming. “We all care about the environment, and thanks to American ingenuity we can produce oil on the coastal plain in an environmentally responsible manner, just as Congress always intended. But our President would rather cater to special interests than pursue a truly balanced approach that supports our nation’s energy security and economic opportunity for the people of Alaska. This is no way to treat a sovereign state and is indicative of how our President treats the west in general, mismanaging our public lands to the detriment of our nation and the people who actually live there.”
Republican Sen. Dean Heller said of the proposed Nevada lands bills:
“Currently, with a quick stroke of the pen, the executive branch can lock up millions of acres of public land without consulting the public or their representation in Congress. With more than 85 percent of Nevada’s land already managed by the federal government, public input and local support are critical to the decision-making process when changing federal land designations. This legislation ensures Congress and local officials are not bypassed by the executive branch when it comes to proposed national monuments in Nevada.”
Rep. Mark Amodei said:
“There is no good reason for major land-use decisions in Nevada to be done in secret without input from the local community and their elected representatives. This Administration has repeatedly said it does not need Congress. Our bill simply states, ‘Oh yes you do.’”
Rep. Joe Heck added:
“As the owners of more than 80% of our state’s land already, it should not be too much trouble to ask the federal government to allow Nevadans, their elected representatives, and the Congress to decide the locations and names of national monuments. Nevadans know our land and our monuments better than Washington bureaucrats.”
Freshman Rep. Cresent Hardy said:
“It’s important for Nevadans to decide how to use the land they live on. This gets back to one of the primary issues I’m personally focused on: the right of the states to determine what’s best for them – instead of allowing unilateral action by the president.”
Unilateral action is how this president rolls, as witness what he is doing to Alaska.
And then there is Nevada’s senior senator and Senate minority leader, Harry Reid, who has introduced bills create a 350,000-acre national conservation area at Gold Butte near Hardy’s hometown of Mesquite and another to ban oil and gas drilling and mining on 805,100 acres of land in Garden Valley and Coal Valley in Lincoln and Nye counties.