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

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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

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.


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.


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


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.


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?


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.


"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.


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.


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