October 22, 2021

Biden reverses Trump policy blocking Obama-era land grabs

Former President Donald Trump tried his best to dismantle the terrible policies he inherited from President Barack Obama. Unfortunately, President Joe Biden is just as eager to undo Trump’s legacy now.

Biden has signed orders to reverse Trump’s halt on an Obama-era federal land grab, Breitbart reported. Obama had used the Antiquities Act to acquire millions of acres in Utah.

Former President Bill Clinton had created the Bears Ears monument and the Grand Staircase-Escalante through the Antiquities Act. However, it was former President Barack Obama who greatly expanded the areas surrounding the monuments in a move that conservatives saw as an abuse of federal power.

In 2017, Trump had reversed the Obama policy and gave back two million acres surrounding the monuments. “These abuses of the Antiquities Act give enormous power to faraway bureaucrats at the expense of the people who actually live here, work here, and make this place their home,” Trump had said when signing his own orders.

Now Biden has once again commandeered the land in a move he sees as conservation but that translates into the federal government controlling 63% of Utah land. “This may be the easiest thing I’ve ever done as president,” Biden said Friday at the signing ceremony at the White House.

“The protection of public lands must not become a pendulum that swings back and forth depending on who’s in public office,” Biden claimed. “It’s not a partisan issue.”

A joint statement by Utah representatives Reps. John Curtis, Chris Stewart, Blake Mooredelegates, and Burgess Owens along with Sens. Mitt Romney and Mike Lee admonished the president for resurrecting the controversial policy. “Rather than take the opportunity to build unity in a divided region and bring resources and lasting protections to sacred antiquities by seeking a mutually beneficial and permanent legislative solution, President Biden fanned the flames of controversy and ignored input from the communities closest to these monuments.”

Conservation is an important concern regardless of political affiliation. However, it’s not a sufficient excuse for the government to control so much land in Utah or anywhere else.

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