In one of his final moves out of the Oval Office, Obama executively designated more than 1.5 million acres of land as national monuments, preserving their untouched façade while closing them to human expansion, development, energy use, ranching or state or local jurisdiction.
In a move ignored by the liberal media, Obama unilaterally seized more than 1.3 million acres from Utah to establish the Bears Ears Monument, preserving it at the behest of conservationist groups and Native American tribes who claimed the land was sacred. Utah’s state legislature, however, opposed the unilateral land grab across party lines, with many speculating that Obama’s move was an attempt to limit efforts from incoming President Donald Trump to expand domestic energy production.
Obama also claimed 300,000 acres in Clark County, Nevada, as the Gold Butte National Monument, effectively closing the area off to future development for uranium mining, oil drilling or natural gas production.
While it was certainly nothing new, Obama's habit of unilaterally confiscating land ramped up heading into the final stretch of his presidency. In the eight years he was in office, President Obama seized more than 553 million acres of land and water (roughly 865,000 square miles) and placed it under federal ownership and control – enough square mileage to cover the entire state of Texas more than three times over. In fact, the self-aggrandizing conservationist-in-chief placed more land and coastal areas under federal control than any other president in history, shutting off millions of miles of land to energy production or human settlement, along with shifting it outside the scope of local and state jurisdictions.
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We’ve been told for decades now that we have to trust distant federal bureaucrats with the management of our unique lands. However, federal bureaucrats, more concerned with policies than promises, lock up our lands like they are in a museum — Hands Off, Don’t Touch!
This “museum management” results in overgrown forests and record-setting catastrophic wildfires that pollute our air, destroy water supplies and habitat, and kill wildlife in the millions, leaving communities depressed and unsafe, and recreation areas burned up or blocked off. It’s not working.
Fortunately, a Convention of States offers hope. An Article V Convention of States can propose constitutional amendments that limit the federal government's ability to unilaterally seize state land. Click here to learn more.