Cliven Bundy may be in jail, but he still has friends in Congress.
The U.S. House of Representatives next week is expected to vote on a proposal that would exempt 48 counties, primarily in the West, from the law that has been used for more than 100 years to protect archaeologically, culturally, and naturally significant resources in the United States, including the Grand Canyon and the Statue of Liberty.
The counties that would be exempted from the Antiquities Act of 1906 cover more than 250,000 square miles — an area nearly the size of Texas. The amendment, which was authored by Rep. Stewart (R-UT) and Rep. Gosar (R-AZ), appears to have two main purposes.
First, it would block the efforts of local communities in Maine, Utah, Arizona, and elsewhere which have been asking President Obama to establish new national monuments in their states.
In southern Utah, for example, the president would not be able to respond to the requests of tribal nations that he protect the Bears Ears area, which is a hotbed of grave robbing, looting, and desecration of sacred sites. It would also prevent the president from protecting Gold Butte in Nevada, where Cliven Bundy illegally grazed his cows for decades, as a national monument.
Though Rep. Gosar argues that the bill prevents local voices from being ignored, in both of the above cases there is strong local support for these national monuments. Seventy-one percent of Utah voters declared their support for a Bears Ears monument and the same percentage of Nevadans support the protection of Gold Butte.
The bill would also block a grassroots call to protect the Grand Canyon from uranium mining, the expansion of which would fall in Rep. Gosar’s district. The petition to protect the area has recently reached more than half a million signatures.
Second, the Stewart-Gosar amendment would make a major concession to the demands of scofflaw rancher Cliven Bundy and his followers who argue that the U.S. government should have no authority over national public lands in the West. Bundy and his sons Ammon and Ryan were arrested and indicted in February for their involvement in armed standoffs with federal law enforcement officials in Nevada and Oregon.
Jesus Christ. Anymore, you have to stay buried in your news media of choice just to know what evil the conservative asshole party is up to day by day. This is awful. I haven’t read enough yet to know if there are ways to fight this, but if I find them, I’ll post.
Full story here.