Salazar’s “wilderness v. wildlands” NOT just semantics but another power grab


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On December 23, 2010, whilst most were occupied with getting ready for the holidays, the Obama administration, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to be specific, pulled another fast one hoping we wouldn’t notice.

Salazar issued order 3310, Protecting Wilderness Characteristics on Lands Managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

Sounds innocent enough right? After all, the purpose is to:

affirm the protection of the wilderness characteristics of public lands is a high priority for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and is an integral component of its multiple use mission. The order provides direction to the BLM regarding its obligation to maintain wilderness resource inventories on a regular and continuous basis for public lands under its jurisdiction

Well, we know anything the Obama administration pulls in the dead of night can’t be any good, and this one isn’t either.

You see, this order actually directed the BLM to designate areas with “wilderness” characteristics as “wildlands” instead. Just a case of semantics one thinks? Hardly. You see, Congress is the only entity which can make this designation, and Salazar clearly circumvented it. According to Doc Hastings (R-WA) Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, what this order would do is impose the most restricted land use policies. Also, lands that are in current use for multiple uses, including recreation, agriculture, ranching, and energy production are in serious danger of being put off limits. Hastings began Congressional hearings this week on this issue. Here is his opening statement, one of his more salient remarks being:

This Secretarial Order will disproportionately impact rural communities, who depend on public lands for their livelihoods. These communities have already been hit hard by onerous existing federal restrictions and by the current economic crisis. They suffer from some of the highest unemployment rates in the country. The “wild lands” order threatens to inflict further economic pain. This is just one more example of the onslaught of harmful actions that the Obama Administration is imposing on rural America.”

Hastings questioned BLM Director Bob Abbey, who admitted he has no statutory authority to do this:

Governors and commissioners in the West aren’t taking this too well, extremely fearful oil companies and ranchers will pull out of their states or counties which would impact economic development. You can read some of the comments here, pay particular attention to the statement by Idaho Governor Butch Otter:

“I urge Congress to take back its authority and prevent further development and implementation of Secretary Salazar’s Order. This Order exempts stakeholders, threatens the spirit of collaboration and cooperation, weakens the process, discounts state sovereignty, and sends the message to the citizens of Idaho that the federal government will continue to treat the valuable and diverse open spaces of the West not as lands of many uses, but rather as lands of no use and no access for the people who live and work in Idaho and other western states,”

Under the Wilderness Act of 1964, signed into law by Lyndon Johnson, only Congress has this authority. Salazar’s order places severe limitations on public access and recreation and also would cause much economic hardship and loss of jobs and revenue.

Another power grab folks, flown under the radar.

Carol Greenberg
Twitter: @LadyImpactOhio
Owner: Conservative Outlooks

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Deplorable Reagan Conservative. Pro-life, pro 2A. Waiting for Obama's "legacy" to be undone.

Twitter: @LadyImpactOhio

"We the People tell government what to do. It does not tell us."__Ronald Reagan in his farewell speech.
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Deplorable Reagan Conservative. Pro-life, pro 2A. Waiting for Obama's "legacy" to be undone. Twitter: @LadyImpactOhio "We the People tell government what to do. It does not tell us."__Ronald Reagan in his farewell speech.

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March 3, 2011 4:08 pm

Thank you LIO for the information. It’s another matter of don’t watch this hand but watch the hand that’s behind someone’s back, in this case Salazar’s. Overwhelm the system with so much going on at one time that it is almost impossible to keep up. Dump the story in the middle of the night, and make sure if it makes the news it’s well buried and sounds innocent. The energy issues are so critical, and I thank you for staying on top of all you can, and passing it along.

March 3, 2011 4:27 pm

Back during the 06-08 Congress, when Bush was still in the WH, but the Democrats had taken control of the House and the Senate, I did a little personal project and watched the bills being voted on in the House on the Thomas website. I started keeping a list of the frequently passed bills that took thousands and thousands of acres which declared specific lands under Federal Government ownership. It was as frequent as naming post offices for politicians. Today, they own most of Nevada and more than half of Alaska. Their target has been the western states mostly, where… Read more »

Kenny Solomon
March 3, 2011 6:20 pm

As always, some great work L.I.O. Gotta offer you the same thing I say to every one: ‘Think big picture…… No…… Bigger…… NO…… BIGGER. Two words: Cass Sunstein. A few more words. Although Salazar is a ‘true believer’ Leftist Totalitarian Statist, he’s not that good, he’s not that devious and he’s not that smart. This is The Nudge Czar all the way. Salazar is simply following orders, maybe throwing a few of his own quirks in. But that would be only with the approval of El Nudger Grande after said quirks were planned, ‘war-gamed’, as many contingencies and tangents taken… Read more »

March 4, 2011 5:21 pm

Y.G. G.