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Didn't we settle this already? Silly us -- we thought that was the case with the Civil War, too!


The GOP Platform Committee served up a great big pile of radical anti-government idiocy for this week's Four Days' Hate in Cleveland, adopting a plank on public lands that could have been written by the Bundy family. You'd think they'd have been happy just declaring online porn a "public health emergency," but the Bunditarian / Michelle Fiore segment of the party wanted some recognition as well, so the Republican Party has added this very important plank:

“Congress shall immediately pass universal legislation providing a timely and orderly mechanism requiring the federal government to convey certain federally controlled public lands to the states,” reads the adopted language. “We call upon all national and state leaders and representatives to exert their utmost power and influence to urge the transfer of those lands identified.”

This is some pretty radical stuff: Since "certain public lands" isn't defined, the plank could open up all sorts of public lands to being transferred to the states (and then sold off to the private sector, which can exploit the acreage most efficiently). Not just lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and National Forest Service, but also national parks, monuments, and wilderness refuges, too. The plank isn't all that far off in tone from the Bundy Family's manifesto on public land, which claims the Constitution bars the federal government from owning any property that isn't being used for forts, military bases, or the national capitol in the District of Columbia. And now that's pretty much the official view of the GOP, hooray. It's a bit of a reversal for the Party of Lincoln. We should remind them that when Lincoln was running things, he went and acquired a huge land mass called "Alaska" and never once said "Hey, let's sell every bit of this to lumber, mining, and oil companies as soon as we can!"

The language that was finally adopted was a bit much even for West Virginia state Sen. Vic Sprouse, a committee delegate who wants to devolve federal lands to the states, but not quite so radically: "That's a very broad brush to basically say we're going to turn over all federal lands to states; some states don't have the resources to handle it," he said. As written, he fears, the plank could turn over federal lands to the states "willy-nilly" regardless of whether states want or are able to manage them.

Beyond the plank calling for handing federal land to the states, to rape manage as they see fit, the platform committee also added a proposal near and dear to the hearts of people who wish industry could drill, mine, clearcut, and graze cattle all over federal lands without a bunch of hippies and Native American tribes whining about "ecosystems" and "cultural heritage" and other unprofitable luxuries: That plank would curb the Antiquities Act of 1906, which has been used since the time of Teddy Roosevelt to protect wilderness areas. This amendment would limit the president's ability to protect sensitive areas by requiring "the approval of the state where the national monument is designated or a national park is proposed." For example, if uranium mining industry lobbyists convinced enough Arizona and Utah legislators that a bit of radioactive runoff into the Grand Canyon would be no big deal, then the president would be blocked from declaring the proposed "Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument" that conservationists and tribes have been asking for.

Finally, because the GOP is all about freedom in the West, the platform committee adopted language that would ask Congress to exempt three species, the sage grouse, prairie chicken, and the gray wolf, from the protections of the Endangered Species Act. Protecting their habitats is a pain in the ass to farmers, ranchers, hunters, and land developers, who definitely know a lot more about which species should be allowed to die off than a bunch of stupid biologists do. When has a biologist ever turned useless forest land into a beautiful, profitable ski resort, after all?

[ThinkProgress]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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