It was hard enough to swallow the argument in a Republican bill that "national security" requires stripping protections from national parks, historical sites and other federal lands within 100 miles of US borders. But, when I came to the part that exempts lands "used for mining, livestock grazing and timber harvesting," I knew a swindle was underway. If a problem isn't serious enough to interfere with short-term profit-making, how can it possibly justify the destruction of irreplaceable world treasures in 54 national parks--nearly 25% of the national park system--including Glacier, Big Bend, Acadia, Glacier Bay, and North Cascades?
HR 1505, the National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act, is sponsored by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), and supported by dozens of other Republicans. The bill would prohibit the Departments of Interior and Agriculture (which includes the Forest Service) from taking any action that would "impede, prohibit, or restrict" U.S. Customers and Border Protection activities on lands under the departments' jurisdiction. [Note: The original version of the bill applied to activities of the entire Department of Homeland Security, not just CBP.]
In a nutshell, this legislation--supported solely by Republicans--holds sacred the rights of ranchers, hunters and the mining industry. The rights of all other Americans--who collectively OWN those federal lands, and in many cases engage in other livelihoods and forms of recreation dependent on them--are entitled to no consideration, whatsoever.
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