Congressman lambastes Trump for national monument review

Basin and Range National Monument (R-J photo by Jeff Scheid)

Rep. Ruben Kihuen has unleashed a diatribe against President Trump over his executive order telling the Interior secretary to review national monument designations for the past 20 years, saying Trump doesn’t give a damn about Nevadans.

Democrat Kihuen flatly stated that most Nevadans support public lands and their permanent protection and criticized Trump for calling recent national monuments — such as the 1 million-acre Gold Butte and Basin and Range national monument designations Obama created in his final year in office — a “massive federal land grab.”

“What would be funny if it wasn’t so sad is that President Trump is doing exactly what he’s complaining about: imposing Washington, D.C.’s ‘wisdom’ on the people of Nevada,” Kihuen writes. “Instead of ‘returning control to the people’ as he has advocated, he’s side stepping the desires of Nevadans. Instead of being part of the conversation, Nevadans are told to shut up and sit down.”

This ignores the fact Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is currently in Arizona visiting the Bears Ears National Monument to begin what he is calling a listening tour on the topic of the more than two dozen national monuments created in the past 20 years.

This also ignores the fact that many accurately described the creation of Gold Butte and Basin and Range monuments as sops to one man, now-retired Nevada U.S. Senator Harry Reid.

Congressman Cresent Hardy — who Kihuen defeated to represent the 4th Congressional District, home to both monuments — complained, “We need to be sure local communities don’t have their concerns ignored by politicians eager to leave a legacy or pull favors for their friends by setting aside huge tracts of land. Nevada’s rural county economies are particularly sensitive, and any decisions that affect ranching, recreation or other types of land use activities should have as much local input as possible … but at the moment, they do not. Legacy building in the twilight of one’s career shouldn’t be the driver of our nation’s public land management.”

Congressman Mark Amodei, who represents northern rural Nevada, said in an interview, “One of the paybacks for Senator Reid being one of the administration’s backstops for six of their eight years is the monument thing. … Why the hell can’t you go through the public process?”

Then-Nevada Rep. Joe Heck said at the time, “President Obama often says ‘we are stronger as a nation when we work together.’ Apparently that rule does not apply to public lands issues when it involves his political allies. The Basin and Range Monument designation goes well beyond the intention of the Antiquities Act which limits parcels reserved by the President to the ‘smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.’ It is beyond belief that an area larger than the state of Rhode Island is the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of this land.”

Sources confirmed Reid’s role to the Washington Post: “It is only due to Harry Reid that this is getting done.” When told it was controversial in Nevada, Obama replied, “I don’t care. I want this done.”

Kihuen further accused Trump of looking out for businesses instead of Nevadans. “Now, President Trump is bucking years of precedent by threatening to revoke the protected status for these designations,” he writes. “Who is President Trump really looking out for? Perhaps it’s big oil and gas who want expanded drilling rights. Or mining companies that seek to extract resources from these federally held areas.”

Or perhaps Trump is sending out the Interior secretary to ask people who actually live near those monuments whether they might like the jobs those businesses create and the tax revenue they generate.

Lest we forget, Kihuen won the 4th Congressional District — which includes part of northern Clark County, the southern part of Lyon County and all of White Pine, Nye, Mineral, Esmeralda, and Lincoln counties — by about 10,000 votes but won in Clark by about 24,000. Hardy won every other county with margins of 2-to-1 or more.

Kihuen further claims, “The Nevada legislature recently passed a resolution expressing support for Basin and Range and Gold Butte. It can’t be any clearer, Nevadans across party lines have made their voices heard. They want these monuments.”
Actually, the resolution has only passed the Assembly and the vote was largely along party lines, with urban Democrats favoring it and rural Republicans opposed. Across party lines?
Who are you going to believe? Kihuen or your lying eyes?

27 comments on “Congressman lambastes Trump for national monument review

  1. robertleebeers says:

    It comes down to philosophy. Republicans recognize that this country is a republic of free states with a federal government to oversee the commerce between those states. The Democrats refuse to recognize the states’ rights, insisting a single central government is better. This may be why most Democrats have never read the Constitution. Reuben is one of those.

  2. A very small group in the Mesquite area were in favor of Gold Butte’s designation. They were promised by Harry Reid it would become a Conservation area and pushed the idea that if so, it would bring revenue to Mesquite. That was and is a ridiculous justification, but it gave Reid cover for the designation.

  3. Deleted says:

    Apparently Bob missed the stories posted here about the Feds specifically disregarding what the states along the coast thought about opening the coast for more oil spills?

    And when I say “Feds” I mean the republicans in office that just changed the rules; maybe Bob could send them a copy of the Constitution with the relevant parts underlined?

  4. A.D. Hopkins says:

    Well said. The young Congressman was simply spouting a party line. Reviewing these imperious withdrawals is one of the best things he could do for the West.

  5. robertleebeers says:

    Perhaps Deleted could come out from behind the anominity curtain? If you knew anything about who you comment about you would know there is equal while seperate distaste for either party as they seem to consider honesty to be a character flaw.

  6. deleted says:

    Well Bob be that as it may, you singled out republicans as supposedly believing in republics and implicitly at least, democrats as not, and all I said was that this was not nonsense and proof is that republicans in charge disregarded the costal states when they decided to open up, or try to open up, the coast for more oil drilling.

    Both parties are full of hypocrites Bob but pretending that republicans believe one thing, that’s supposedly a good thing or even a true thing, and democrats don’t, is painting with too broad a brush.

    You might even agree. If you are who you say you are

  7. Steve says:

    Patrick accusing anyone of “painting with too broad a brush” is the funniest thing I have seen today….and I work IT!

  8. And drilling is a bad thing? Why? I have lived around drilling and it’s really a good thing as Martha Stewart would say.

  9. Barbara says:

    Well I can’t believe it but Patrick finally said something I agree with – both parties are full of hypocrites.

    Republicans pass a progressive CR supported by every single Democrat Senator and even the ACLU. Heller comes out in support of Planned Parenthood and the ACA expansion of Medicaid. Yes Heller voted against the CR – most likely a show vote just as were his previous votes to repeal the ACA.

    Mark Amodei voted for the AHCA because, just like Heller, he wants the Feds to continue propping up our bloated Mecaid system. Never mind that in a few years the State would be fully responsible for finding the millions necessary to sustain this welfare program.

    Constitutional conservatives in Nevada have no representation in Congress and very little at the State level. Heller needs to remember Joe Heck’s race. If you loose your conservative base, you will never win a Senate seat. Heller thinks he has the primary all locked up because it takes too much money to unseat an incumbent in a primary race. He probably is right, but if the Democrats field a credible candidate, Heller will never win the general. Heck lost by 26,000 while over 90,000 voted either “None of the above” or for a 3rd party candidate – even with the Supreme Court as an issue.

    The Republican party, so far, has not given any Constitutional conservative a reason to turn out and keep Republicans in the majority. If anything, just the opposite. We have plenty of reasons to vote against them. People hate feeling used and betrayed. A scorned voter is pretty much akin to a scorned women – and we have very long memories.

  10. The only way to really drain the swamp is with term limits, a balanced budget amendment, etc. And it’s obvious watching the limp wristed, spineless Republicans running for cover…and the example of our own big tax raising Governor, is that the Liberty Amendments may be the only viable method of attaining any of these lofty goals.

  11. Barbara says:

    I agree HFB. Texas became the 11th state to call for a Convention of States. For anyone who believes in the Constitution, an Article V convention to pass amendments limiting the scope of the Federal government only makes sense. Let’s hope other States follow suit.

  12. deleted says:

    Let’s ask the Confederate States how limiting their central government to one that “could be drown in a bathtub” worked out for them shall we?

    Say what you will about a more expansive government but because we, at least, have, at least, a pretense of a voice in how the government acts, it is far preferable to have a weak central government standing between the citizens of this country, and the large corporate entities which would otherwise control us.

    Thomas Jefferson, the brilliant founding father that he was, warned the country about these corporations, even as insignificant as they were in his day, and told the people of the country to

    ““ crush… in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

    He went even further though,

    He was, as well, a relentless critic of the monopolizing of economic power by banks, corporations and those who put their faith in what the third president referred to as “the selfish spirit of commerce (that) knows no country, and feels no passion or principle but that of gain.”

    First I say we “crush” the monied institutions that Jefferson warned of, then you want to have a Constitutional Convention….we can talk. Otherwise, the only likely result of such a Convention, is one where the corporate overlords exercise their power, and institutionalize that power in the resulting document.

  13. The problem is that the “large corporate entities” and large banking monopolies you lament…are the puppet masters for your expansive, out of control, blood sucking federal government and the endless encroachment of their un-elected agencies. The Liberty Amendments would cut those cords and at least give we the people a fighting chance again.

  14. Oh…I forgot one of the other troubling entities…the Unions, both private and public sector which almost exclusively support the progressive cultural Marxist left.

  15. Rincon says:

    I have to agree, Brien. I have to ask though, do you believe in unrestricted anonymous campaign contributions?

    Speaking of draining the swamp, I checked how much the Eisenhower Administration spent on defense in 2015 dollars (remember, Ike warned us about the military-industrial complex) in comparison to today’s budgets. In Eisenhower’s time, we spent a little over $400 billion annually. During the height of the Viet Nam War, we spent closer to $500 billion. Under Obama, we spent almost $700 billion and now, Trump wants to increase it by $54 billion. He’s draining one swamp in order to fill another, but most of you seem to have no objection.

  16. I don’t believe in unrestricted anonymous campaign contributions.

  17. Rincon says:

    Good to hear. I wonder how many others here share your view.

  18. deleted says:

    States rights, states rights, states rights!

    Out of control EPA, ignores science, ignores local voices, tramples states interests, so that in-American interests may terrorize this country and these pages are silent?


    “EPA Administer Scott Pruitt claims the settlement is about providing Pebble a “fair process,” but in reality it’s putting Pebble Mine first and Bristol Bay second. If he is really serious about “listening to all voices as this process unfolds,” then it’s time to listen to what the people of Alaska and Bristol Bay want. Spoiler alert: they do not want the Pebble Mine. More than 65 percent of Alaskans, 80 percent of Bristol Bay residents and Native communities, and 85 percent of commercial fishermen oppose the mine.”

  19. Then they should buy the mine instead of trying to prevent the owners from making a profit off of their property.

  20. deleted says:

    Maybe I’m misunderstanding Thomas; are you suggesting that a state may not in any way, other than by purchasing property, impede a property owner from “making a profit” off “their land”?

  21. No, I’m saying the neighbors shouldn’t vote themselves the power to confiscate another’s property.

  22. deleted says:

    Well that confusing what with a government being there and all. I mean isn’t that what governments are established to do in some sense? Vote and make laws which, by necessity, impair some individuals “rights” to do something they might want to do?

    And this isn’t really the point, what about your call for the federal government to listen to the locals? Didn’t you stress how important this was when you argued that Nevada needed more input on the federal lands here? Why isn’t that your concern about the Alaska case? The locals have spoken they don’t want this mine.

  23. The project on land owned by the state of Alaska, which has approved.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Alaska has NOT approved the project Thomas. And I guess whatever else might be said about it, given that more than 65% of Alaskans don’t want the mine, there isn’t any worry about “neighbors” voting themselves anything right?

    I mean, the people own this land they’re deciding what happens on their own land. At least in theory.

  25. Anonymous says:

    “Care, maintenance, reclamation” does not constitute approval for the mine. According to the ballot proposition, the only way the mine can be approved is by vote of the legislature, which has not happened.,_Ballot_Measure_4_(2014)

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