Babbitt’s Back, Describes Environmental War

Aaron Flint posted on June 15, 2011 15:41 :: 1306 Views

Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt (Clinton Administration) is back and babbling again, citing a “shadow war on the environment” he says is being waged by House Republicans. 

Here’s a link to his remarks at The National Press Club where he bragged about creating national monuments by the mere stroke of a pen, and then had the gall to complain about decisions being made in the dark. 

In an address laced with battle references such as “declared war,” “salvos,” “attacks,” and “adversaries,” Babbitt repeatedly labeled House Republicans as radicals who are using the cover of the budget process to begin dismantling U.S. environmental laws. At one point, he even invoked the Civil War and its nullification crisis.

“Failure to respond…is a form of appeasement that has not worked in the past and will not work this time,” he warned. “Our adversaries prefer to operate in the shadows, outside the sunshine generated by public knowledge and participation.”

Babbitt said Obama should emerge from his silence and rally supporters in Congress to expand the National Wilderness Preservation System, reminding lawmakers that he can use his power to sidestep their efforts by designating threatened areas as national monuments.

Ah yes, he complains about a “shadow war” being waged by House Republicans while simultaneously calling for President Obama to sidestep the American public and unilaterally create more national monuments.  I’ll bet Secretary Babbitt addresses the Alcoholics Anonymous convention while holding a martini. 

As for the “shadow war,” House Republicans have been very transparent in their desire and efforts to make sure that the public and the locals impacted most have a say in any federal lands designation.  In fact, Politico’s Morning Energy had this today:

MONUMENTAL UNREST – Utah’s Republican House members and senators have introduced companion pieces of legislation that would bar the president from creating new national monuments on federal land in their state through the Antiquities Act, a law that allows the president to make the declarations without congressional approval. The bill:

That legislation mirrors an effort by Montana Congressman Denny Rehberg to require Congressional approval before any new monuments are created in montana. 

Montana’s Congressman, Denny Rehberg, today introduced the Montana Land Sovereignty Act in the U.S. House of Representatives.  The legislation simply requires congressional approval before the White House or the Department of Interior (DOI) can designate any new National Monuments or “Wild Lands” in Montana.

“The open-season on Montana’s land is over,” said Rehberg, a rancher and member of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus.  “This is about standing against the insufferable arrogance of Washington, D.C. that assumes an unelected bureaucrat can make better decisions from behind a desk than the folks who live and work the land in Montana.  It’s time to reassert the authority of the people of Montana to manage our lands.”

The abuse of the Antiquities Act to circumvent congressional and public input is not unprecedented.  In the eleventh hour of the outgoing Clinton Administration, the President used his authority granted under the Antiquities Act to create the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, despite outright opposition from Montanans across the state.

So- just who is “operating from the shadows” and hiding from the public process, Mr. Secretary?

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