NPS Retirees Say House Legislation Would Gut Antiquities Act, Lead To More Hunting In National Parks

Legislation currently pending in the U.S. Senate would, if allowed to become law, gut the Antiquities Act that so many presidents have used to preserve and protect valuable landscapes and historical settings, according to the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees.

The measure is being considered as an amendment to the Farm Bill on the Senate floor and should be opposed by anyone who cares about the special places that are part of the National Park System, according to the Park Service retirees.

The bill's language would gut the Antiquities Act, which was used by past presidents to set aside places such as Grand Canyon, Grand Teton, Olympic, Carlsbad Caverns and Acadia national parks.

“Some of this nation’s most loved parks were first set aside and protected as national monuments and were later legislated by the Congress into national parks," said Maureen Finnerty, chair of the Coalition's Executive Council. "The modification to the Antiquities Act would require that any presidential proclamation be approved by the governor and the legislature in the state in which the potential monument would be established. Such a requirement would essentially render the Antiquities Act meaningless as such accord rarely exists.

"Moreover, the president can only employ the provisions of the Act on lands already owned by the people of the United States. It cannot be used on state or privately-owned lands," she added.

Additionally, the group says, H.R. 4089 could open up many areas of the National Park System to hunting, trapping, and recreational shooting. Most national park sites are closed to such activities in the interests of public safety, visitor enjoyment and resource protection. The House defeated an amendment to the bill that would have specifically excluded all the 397 units of the National Park System from these activities, which are already legal and appropriate on millions of acres of other public lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

“NPS has long governed units of the National Park System based on the principle that hunting, trapping, collecting specimens and other uses that extract natural resources from park area ecosystems are not allowed, unless Congress has clearly authorized such activities," said former Glacier Bay National Park Superintendent Cherry Payne, a member of the Coalition's Executive Council. "This longstanding principle has been confirmed by the courts.

"H.R 4089 would eliminate this principle because it would recognize that hunting, trapping, fishing and collecting are to be affirmatively supported and facilitated on all federal lands," she added. "As a result, H.R. 4089 would stand NPS management policy on its head, creating a presumption that consumptive uses are the norm, and must be allowed unless expressly prohibited.”

Comments

Lee -

You paid $2,700 in taxes and Romney paid $2 million on top of giving $4 million to charity but he didn't pay enough? That on the surface is absurd. As absurd as calling his tax rate 14%. His nominal tax rate is that low because it comes from capital gains on corporations that have already been taxed at 35%. That means that income has actually been taxed at nearly 50%. If there is sloth in paying taxes, it isn't from the 1% that currently pay 37% of all federal income taxes (the highest level ever).

You want a list of things to get rid of:

Dept of Education (no constitutional basis for its existence)

Dept of Energy (no constitutional basis for its existence)

Dept of Housing and Urban develpment (no constitutional basis for its existence)

Get the feds out of housing (shut down Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac et al)

Dramatically scale down foodstamps, unemployment payments, free cell phones to the truly needy.

Get rid of Obamacare

Stop funding inefficient technologies

the list goes on, including 19 billion of items in this book - http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/10/15/coburn-waste-book-details-1-billion-in-eye-opening-government-expenses/

Our founding fathers didn't want any of this. Go read the Federalist and anti-federalist papers (after you read the Constitution) and you will realize how far we have come from their dream.

Finally, I totally dismiss the concept of "greed". Tell me, what exactly is "greed" and who defines where hard work stops and "greed" begins. Today its those that are jealous.

I haven't bought in to any "talking points" I have studied history and economics. And my opinions are based on those and not on jealousy or a sense of entitlement. Your use of words such as "greed" that really suggest the buy in to talking points.

Fear and frustration are powerful and closely related emotions. Unfortunately, there are people out there who understand that and exploit the fear and frustration of Americans as they seek to extend their own goals -- whatever those goals may be. In too many cases, people who feel fear and frustration seek simplistic answers to assuage those feelings. That opens the door to people like Limbaugh and Beck and Rove who have learned to manipulate those people -- while at the same time reaping untold dollars for themselves. (Is that an example of greed?)

As for eliminating those agencies, it's perhaps wise to examine why each of them was created in the first place and what the goals for them were at the time. Instead of citing only the mantra "no constitutional basis for its existence," how about providing some reasons? Why should they be eliminated? And what will happen -- good or bad -- if they are eliminated?

The total amount of taxes by people like me or Romney has no bearing on fairness. Equality is what's fair -- and it's not equal now. True, I didn't donate four million to charity, but I did donate a whole lot. It's possible that some of us may have donated a larger percentage of our incomes than he did. Simply tossing out large numbers may not necessarily prove fairness or unfairness. Many people who made much less may actually have been much more generous. The only thing sure right now is that our tax laws are badly skewed in favor of those whose bank accounts are full to overflowing.

What's needed is not fear and frustration guiding our thinking. It's wisdom and a willingness to carefully think before acting. It's not a long list of sources of opinions. (By citing only Fox News and Senator Coburn, you are showing that you seek yours from a set of somewhat questionable places.) Read widely, seek differing opinions, examine those opinions carefully and then make the best decision you can. We may not agree, but seeking only the extremes will not lead to successful solutions.


Our founding fathers didn't want any of this.


Strange argument. (They didn't want alot of things, like the abolition of slavery or women's suffrage . But these seem to be very good things, nevertheless.)


Dept of Education (no constitutional basis for its existence)

Dept of Energy (no constitutional basis for its existence)

Dept of Housing and Urban develpment (no constitutional basis for its existence)


Then why haven't they been eliminated by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional?


Instead of citing only the mantra "no constitutional basis for its existence," how about providing some reasons?


If being unconstitituional isn't enough I don't know what is. It is not the role of the federal government to provide those services.


Equality is what's fair --


I see - so Romney should have paid $2,700 instead of $2 mil? $2,700 would make him "equal" to you. I suppose when you go to lunch your buddies, you make the guy that earns the most pay the most. Or maybe you believe your buddy should pay $40 a gallon for gas while you pay $4 because he makes 10x the money you make.

And in typical liberal fashion, you would rather dismiss the information based solely on the source rather than actual provide any factual refutation. Oh, and BTW Coburn's work was the result of efforts of the BIPARTISAN Gang of Six whose proposals to cut $3.7 trillion in federal spending was ignored by Obama and the Democratic dominate Senate.

No sense trying to be sensible with someone who refuses to be. We're wasting a lot of time and effort here. Today is a fine fall day and I'm going to go enjoy it.

Keep smiling.

Refuses to be sensible? I think I have been quite sensible and put forth strong and logical arguments. You have preferred to cast aspersions and call people greedy or dishonest or fooled. And unlike, I don't think it is a waste of time. I think it is important for people to discuss the alternatives and their ramifications. Afterall, looking back 50 years from now, this fine fall day may be meaningless.

Really looking forward to this election being over. I come back from a beautiful frozen drive through our local national park lands today and look at Traveler to find the freeper Romney apologists cluttering up the space I look to for discussion of our parks. Even if I agreed with you I would find you as unsightly as a billboard in Yellowstone.

Army (no constitutional basis for its existence)


Then why haven't they been eliminated by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional?


Because they're not.

RB - Romney apologists? What does he have to apologize for? Being successful? Jealous much? If he needs an apology for anything, its for being too "progressive".

Anon 6:37

article 1 section 8. One of the enumerated powers.

Anon 7:59

Because the Supreme Court has been packed with progressives who ignore the constitutuon. If you believe those are actually constitutional, please cite the clauses in the constitution that make them so.

Article 1 Section 8 states that among other duties Congress shall have the power "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

Yes Lee - that is what it says. It can enact all laws necessary to carry out the the enumerated powers. Providing public education or regulating energy are NOT enumerated powers.

May I suggest you refer to Federalist Paper 41.

Which proves only that even our Founding Fathers didn't agree. One of the wonders of democracy is that we can disagree and yet still function. In fact, part of the genius of our Founding Fathers and our Constitution was that they were wise enough to realize that neither this document nor any other could stand the test of time without allowances for change. They provided mechanism for future generations to make decisions and to amend based on evolving conditions. The portion I cited above is evidence of their wisdom and genius.

Have a nice day.


Which proves only that even our Founding Fathers didn't agree.


Obviously you didn't read it. The Federalist Papers were written by those in favor of the constitution. Federalist 41 was written by James Madision (the father of the Constitution). It was written in response to concerns that some language in the Constitition could be interpreted too broadly - i.e. giving the government too much power. Madison assured the public that was not the case and the powers were limted to those specifically listed in Article 1 section 8. Public education and regulating energy (among many others now being practice by the feds) were not part of the enumerated powers. In other words he did agree. The federal government was to be limited.


Because the Supreme Court has been packed with progressives who ignore the constitutuon.


Riiiiggghhht. That's why they are still consitutional.


If you believe those are actually constitutional, please cite the clauses in the constitution that make them so


That's obviously not how constituionality works. It has to specifically violate the Consitution to be unconstitutional. So, where do these specifically violate the Consitution?

And yes Lee the founding fathers were wise enough to provide a mechinism for future generations to amend. Its formulated in Article 5 and has been used 27 times. Never has it been used to put the government in the business of public education or energy regulation.

What did you teach? We know it wasn't math and it is increasingly obvious it wasn't history or social studies either.


It has to specifically violate the Consitution to be unconstitutional. So, where do these specifically violate the Consitution?


The federal government was granted specific powers by the Constitution - and only those powers. A fact that was reiiterated by the 10th amendment. Anything it does outside of those specfic powers is unconstitutional.

It is amazing how oblivious so many of today's citizen are of the basic principles underwhich our nation was founded.


Because the Supreme Court has been packed with progressives who ignore the constitutuon.


Right, that's how the Supreme Court operates. Because progressives are huge fans of Bush v. Gore and Citizens United.

Furthermore, conservatives have had plenty of opportunities to eliminate those departments wihtout even having to bring in the consitutionality of them. George H.W. Bush explicitly campaigned on eliminating the D of Ed! What happened?

The Department of Ed can be argued as consitutional on a variety of "bases," including even the Commerce clause. The point is, once again, that because a given law can be justified on a variety graounds, it must explicity violate part of the Consitution to be unconstitutional.


including even the Commerce clause.


LOL - The commerce clause was written to block states from treating trade differently i.e. having a higher tariff for mechandise coming in from one state vs another. It had nothing to due with regulating business or education.

And yet the commerce clause has been successfully applied thoughout history (by conservatives and progressives) to defend the consitutionality of a number of laws that could never have been anticipated at the time of its inception.

The founders could not have possibly anticipated every new concept in the years in America's future. We should be looking at what the constitution means not what it actually says.


at what the constitution means not what it actually says


What do you mean by "means"? How is that different from what it "actually says"?


And yet the commerce clause has been successfully applied thoughout history (by conservatives and progressives)


Examples would be helpful but if anyone used the commerce clause to defend the Dept of Education or Dept of Energy - they weren't "conservatives" They might be Republicans, but that aren't conservatives.

Heck - the commerce clause was used to prevent a land owner from growing wheat on his property for his own consumption. Do you think that was an appropriate use of the commerce clause? Do think the Founding Fathers "meant" that?

What do you mean by "means"? How is that different from what it "actually says"?

What he means is the Constitution means what ever the Progressives want it to mean. The irony is that the concept of a "living Constitution" is the antithesis of what the Constitution was all about. The Constitution was meant to establish precise limits to the role of government. With the progressives' broad interpretation of the commerce clause and (other clauses), there might as well have been no Constitution written at all as there are no limits on what can be regulated.

The Constitution has a method to be altered - Article V. The progressives know however, that in most incidences, they would not be able to meet that hurdle. Therefore they use backdoor methods to circumvent the Constitution and put us on the road to ruin. And both Republicans and Democrats have been willing participants.


Do think the Founding Fathers "meant" that?


As the last 40 years of textual studies makes abundantly clear, it's notoriously difficult--even dangerous--to historicize "intention," not to mention the speculation occasioned by that strategy of reading the Constitution (or any other text).


The Constitution was meant to establish precise limits to the role of government.


But the "limits" can never be precise because langauge itself isn't. This is why we talk about interpretation of the Consitution. It's why there is a Supreme Court.


What he means is the Constitution means what ever the Progressives want it to mean.


That is, of course, nonsense. There are different strategies of interpretation, which holds true for the reading of any text. This fact gets blurred by ideological caricatures of the opposition's strategy of reading.

"here are different strategies of interpretation, which holds true for the reading of any text."

When read in context of the Federalist papers with language that explicits says the Constitution doesn't allow what is currently happening its not a question of interpretation. And no the Supreme Court isn't supposed to "interpret" the Constitution, it is supposed to apply it.


And no the Supreme Court isn't supposed to "interpret" the Constitution, it is supposed to apply it.


No. It adjudicates competing interpretations of the Constitution.


When read in context of the Federalist papers with language that explicits says the Constitution doesn't allow what is currently happening its not a question of interpretation.


Huh?

Anon 5:10

Read the Federalist Papers. Then you will know both what they said and what was meant. And what was said and what was meant isn't happening now.

Until you have done your homework, there is no further need to discuss. Kurt has been more than patient to let this go this long.

Kurt's actually been a bit fascinated by the debate, in no small measure because I visited James Madison's home last week....

However, we all need to remember that the Federalist Papers and the opposition's Anti-Federalist Papers reflected the controversy over whether or not to ratify the Constitution. Alexander Hamilton, for example, opposed the ten amendments that became the Bill of Rights. Even then, the need for a Supreme Court to provide future interpretations of the document was recognized.

The arguments then are not all that different than those today.

There has never been full agreement about the contents of the Constitution. That is as true today as it was in 1788.

And perhaps that is a reflection of the genius of our Founders because they were building a foundation for a nation that would be guided into the future by their work.

Yes Lee they fought over whether it shoulf be ratified - but what was the fight? The anti-federalist where concerned the Constitution could be interpreted loosly and give the feds too much power. What was the Federalst response? It wasn't that the government should have that power it was that the anti-feds were misreading the Constition and those broad powers were not stated or meant.

And no, the supreme court is not to interpret anything. It is to apply the law and determine facts. You will find nothing in Article III chargine them to "interpret"

Kurt - hope you enjoyed my home state and that you got a chance to go to Monticello. Even more impressive.

Right. And the argument continues to this day and will probably continue as long as the nation stands.


It is to apply the law and determine facts.


Facts are rarely, if ever, in dispute in cases before the Supreme Court. How the Consitution applies to those facts is what is in dispute. The opposing parties have competing interpretations of how the Constitution applies. The Supreme Court adjudicates those competing interpretations.


Read the Federalist Papers. Then you will know both what they said and what was meant. And what was said and what was meant isn't happening now.


I assume what you're saying is that the Federalist Papers provide an instrument for historicizing the intent of the Founding Fathers. That's certainly reasonable, but using the Federalist Papers in this way has always been controversial--1) the papers themselves are subject to different interpretations 2) what weight should be attributed to the views of Hamilton, Madison, and Jay? 3) again, why and how intentionality constitutes meaning is a pretty dubious approach to a textual analysis,

You can argue all you want but until you provide evidence that Madison or other primary figures thought that the government should do all it is doing today, your arguements are noise and carry no weight.

I just finished watching a Frontline program on PBS. Big Money, Big Sky is something every concerned American should watch and carefully consider.

Anonymouse,

You can argue all you want but until you provide evidence that all the primary figures were in agreement back in those days, your arguements are noise and carry no weight.


that all the primary figures were in agreement back in those days,


They weren't in agreement. The anti-federalist wanted even more strict constraints and the Federalists, who were for the Constitution insisted that none of the things that worried the anti-federalists (i.e the things that are happening now) would be allowed under the Constitution.

Nobody expected the government to have today's powers and nobody wanted it. On that they did agree.

Anonymous, your comment begs the question of how 18th Century leaders could possibly have envisioned today's cultures, populations, technologies, issues, and needs to agree that they wouldn't approve of today's federal government.

Maybe they had tinfoil hats back then, too?


You can argue all you want but until you provide evidence that Madison or other primary figures thought that the government should do all it is doing today, your arguements are noise and carry no weight.


Not sure about that. But now that I'm logged in properly (post-Sandy), I'll defer to Kurt's point above. Thanks for the discussion, anon.

"Maybe they had tinfoil hats back then, too?"

Yes. The "tinfoil hat" logical fallacy, a thought-terminating cliche which evokes Godwin's Law: The longer a message board discussion goes on [about limited government] the more likely it is for someone to reference, in this case, craziness.

The constitution is a LEGAL document, not literature to be interpreted. It is not fluid. It was meant to chain down government. If legal documents are to be reinterpreted after time, let me try that with my landlord as I argue that my legal contract (lease) means that I can indeed cause damage to the property with impunity because times have changed. Right.

Yes, there was discord among the ratifiers of the Constitution. Many of the states voted quite narrowly to ratify (34 to 32 in Rhode Island, 30 to 27 in NY, 89 to 79 in Virginia). These same states declared in their ordinances of ratircation that they reserved the right to secede.

Keep in mind that it was 13 sovereign states that created the federal government, not the federal government that created the states. (Madison said that the Constitution was ratified "not as individuals composing one entire nation, but as composing the distinct and independent States to which they respectively belong.")

Jefferson and Madison wrote the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, both of which announced the right of nullification. The latter stated that the states were "not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but by a compact...the... delegated to [that government] certain DEFINITE powers, reserving...the residuary mass of right to their own self-government." [Emphasis added.]

Violations of the constitution were what led southern states to secede. Then Lincoln destroyed the constitution and consolidated federal power, and in the process violated the First Amendment by shutting down Northern newspapers that dissented against his policies. He also suspended the writ of habeus corpus for the length of his entire administration and threw thousands of political dissenters into prison without due process. In short, he destroyed the Republic and killed the constitution.

So today we have what were once sovereign states comprising voluntary federation now subjugated to the status of mere political administrative units of a monolithic United States government.

To come back to the topic, the power to declare national monuments is not a definite power delegated to the executive under the constitution. Therefore, it is unconstitutional.

But when has the constitution ever stopped the government from power grabs? Andrew Jackson challenged the Supreme Court to enforce the constitution and sent my ancestors down the Trail of Tears.

As Jefferson wrote, "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yeild, and government to gain ground."

Damn. I guess all those Thanksgiving turkey pardons are beyond the letter of the document then too. And I know the pronouncements about the White House Easter Egg Roll are a stretch.

^Nice appeal to ridicule.

Yup, and I've felt the same way through the entire Federalist papers tangent, like I was listening to some freshmen sitting around the quad over espresso, debating textbooks they just read.

Don't mind me - I'll go on back to reading threads about the parks. Go on about your business.