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Chair Of House Subcommittee On National Parks Calls Parks, Other Federal Lands Unconstitutional



U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, who chairs the House subcommittee that oversees national parks and other federal lands, says it is unconstitutional for the federal government to own those tracts.

And while the Utah Republican would like to see most federal lands in the West turned over to the states, he said the federal government can keep national parks "because they’re not moneymakers anyway."

Rep. Bishop made the comments recently in Las Vegas, where he was appearing at a Western Republican Leadership Conference meeting, part of which focused on federal control of public lands in the West.

According to a report from Think Progress, a nonpartisan arm of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the congressman told those attending the conference that nowhere in the U.S. Constitution does it provide for such federal land ownership.

During a slide presentation to the conference the Republican said, "Federal government owns one out of every three acres in this country. If it’s west of Denver, it’s one out of every two acres. If this kind of federal control is good, then the Soviet Union should have been the Garden of Eden. But what this presents to us – and I defy you to find anywhere in the Constitution where this is allowable - but what it defines to us is – the second slide if you would – everything in red are the states that had the hardest time funding their educations system."

In its report on the meeting Think Progress pointed out that Article 4, Section 3, Clause 2 of the Constitution provides that “Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States.”

Rep. Bishop also told Think Progress that he fully supports mining near Grand Canyon National Park, and says it would have "no impact on the Grand Canyon water or tourism that happens to be there."

U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials last week announced their preference to extend a moratorium on uranium mining around the Grand Canyon for 20 years. After a 30-day waiting period, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will be able to sign off on the plan.

There has been legislation introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives to block the administration from enforcing the moratorium. In July the House Appropriations Committee amended Interior's budget bill to tie the administration's hands on the matter.


We should be blunt about Bishop and his kind that are flooding the cable networks and beginning to elect their clones to congress.  Bishop fundamentally opposes the constitution of the United States. The idea that the House congressional  leadership would permit someone to be a chairman of a congressional committee who does not believe in the constitution is outrageous.  The powers were provided to government in the constitution because America was failing without it.  Utah, Bishop's state, would not be a state at all if you believed his insanity.  The Louisiana Purchase, the Alaska Purchase, the Gadsden Purchase and the Mexican War brought all the unowned  land in those vast territories to the United States Government.  Collectively Bishop and his kind fundmentally oppose the fundamental institutions that have made America great, and not just the National Park System.  Their views need to be called out, and inexplicably this is not being done by the President.  Thank you Traveler for letting us know what is at stake with these congressional "leaders."

If the pendulum would just stop in the middle there wouldn't be a problem.   Make all of us in the middle pretty happy as uneducated and as incapable of making smart decisions as we may be.  

Having Rob Bishop as chair of the House subcommittee that oversees national parks and other federal lands is like having the fox as chair of the chicken house.  J.

Could it be a pendulum swing when there have been excesses in reach and policy?  Can neither factions reach a willingness to see the benefits of the other?  Pay the bills, allow the tax payers to enrich their experiences/lives and be practical in approaches to acquiring new properties?  With the examples of assaults on a private lease in PRNRA and forced removal of historic inholdings in many NPS parks it's not really a stretch to expect an equal and like pendulum in the other direction.  

The disturbing thing about this issue is that the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands consists of a majority of representatives that have openly professed their dislike of federal land, including a chairman saying that the very basis for his committee is unconstitutional. Isn't that contrary to the focus of the subcommittee? Maybe not because the HSNPFPL website lists increased recreational opportunities and economic development, not preservation, as its only goals.

I wouldn't have guessed that you'd be in with the Occupy bunch.  Please say it ain't so, Joe/Lee:).

From my critical view, what you describe Lee is just more attempts to show an effort while out of view doing just the opposite.  Transparency, what's that?  What of Fast and Furious (and other highly dubious political actions).   With 2 US Border Patrol Agents and 200 Mexicans having been murdered with guns that were provided by our Justice Department for unclear and highly suspect motivations it seems like a valid oversight issue. You might ask the family and neighbors of the rancher murdered on his own place or even the Governor (Jan Brewer) who's attempting to do what the wholly political administration refuses to do, well.  I am an Arizonan and it doesn't make me feel more secure watching Janet Napolitano horseback with uncomfortable Border patrol Agents along the border. That's my reality. 

Uh, anonymous... wasn't it the PRIOR administration that came out with the color coded paranoia levels, which tended to be escalated every time that the then President needed a PR bump? Pardon me for having to work hard to swallow your obvious agenda.

I agree. Too much radio and too much anonymity.

Could we get back to discussing the parks now?

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