- The Washington Times - Monday, December 4, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

President Donald Trump took to the road to travel to Utah to announce a historic rollback of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.

And in so doing, he put a serious damper on the legacies of both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

Insert cheer here.

“We’re going to be doing something that the state of Utah and others have wanted to be done for many, many years,” Trumpsaid at the White House, before departing for Utah. “So important for state’s rights and so important for the people of Utah.”

Specifically, Trump’s reeling in the boundaries of the Bears Ears National Monument and the Grand-Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The first was declared by Obama, during his dying December 2016 days in office. It spans almost 1.4 million acres. The second — that was an act of Clinton in 1996, a set-aside of 1.9 million acres for federal oversight.

Both were highly contested, but self-congratulatory on the parts of the presidents.

Look at this, from Obama, as noted by the Salt Lake Tribune on Bears Ear declaration day: “Today’s actions will help protect this cultural legacy and will ensure that future generations are able to enjoy and appreciate these scenic and historic landscapes.”

Not really. Sen. Orrin Hatch put it better.

“[This declaration is] an attack on an entire way of life [ and] an astonishing and egregious abuse of executive power,” he said then.

It was a similar scenario for Clinton’s designation.

“Standing against the sweeping backdrop of the Grand Canyon, Clinton declared that in creating the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument ‘we are keeping faith with the future … On this remarkable site, God’s handiwork is everywhere,’” the Los Angeles Times recorded in September 1996.

And with that — ranchers, miners and recreational land users were set on notice: No more, without the permission of the feds.

Clinton’s designation was actually the largest ever made under the Antiquities Act.

Well, here comes Trump. And there goes part of Obama’s and Clinton’s legacies.

Trump’s reportedly trimming Bears Ears by 85 percent, from 1.35 million acres to 201,397 acres, and Grand Staircase from 1.9 million acres to 997,490 acres.

This is a big win for those in America concerned about private property rights and states’ rights, and the growing trend of a federal government to use an outdated 1906 law to run roughshod over the Constitution and Founding Father intents. Basically, the reel-backs mean the property will once again be opened for public use, rather than set off-limits for special interests. And after all, wasn’t that supposed to be the whole reason behind the Antiquities Act in the first place, to set aside properties deemed worthy of protection for the benefit of all the people?

Let’s hope more scale-backs are soon in coming. Environmentalists and leftists will cry — and, more to truth, sue. But let them. The Constitution makes cause for private property, not presidential legacies or environmental group successes. True freedom comes when the government’s role in properties’ protections are limited and local.

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