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If there’s a message that comes from this interview of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, it’s that Secretary Zinke isn’t into one-size-fits-all governing.

That came across clearly when the article noted that Secretary “Zinke spent two days in New Mexico in late July meeting with public officials and others, and even took a horseback ride with the state’s two Democratic U.S. senators. Despite intense public skepticism about his intentions, Zinke recommended no changes to the monuments’ boundaries in New Mexico — only management changes. It was a marked contrast to his action in Utah, where he urged Trump to slash the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments. The move triggered lawsuits and a withering rebuke from the Patagonia outdoor clothing company, which took to social media to tell Americans that Trump ‘stole your land.'”

Another thing that’s apparent is that Secretary Zinke isn’t afraid to listen to people:

“The president tasked me to get the local voice,” Zinke said, explaining his decision on New Mexico’s monuments. “I talked to the governor, I talked to your two senators, I talked to (Republican Rep.) Steve Pearce and I talked to the communities.

Overwhelmingly, the communities were comfortable with the monuments. It was different in Utah where you had both senators, all the congressman and the governor supportive (of reducing the monuments).”

Actually listening to people isn’t a method used that often by the Obama administration.

What’s not to like about this type of management?

Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall of New Mexico remain suspicious of Zinke’s intent in New Mexico, and have said they won’t be mollified until Trump makes final decisions on the two monuments. Zinke said he’s recommended management changes that protect ranchers’ rights to graze their livestock at the Rio Grande del Norte Monument and give the Border Patrol unfettered ability to disrupt drug trafficking routes near the Organ Mountains monument in southern New Mexico.

The environmentalists will always complain about any usage of public lands.

Anyone living in the western United States knows the damage that weaponized government can do to people. While this post isn’t directly related to Bears Ears or other western monuments, westerners won’t have any difficulty recognizing the players involved in this episode involving weaponized government.

According to the article, “On January 19th, 2017, the day before President Trump was sworn in, the previous administration published a 234,328-acre federal mineral withdrawal application in the Federal Register, to restrict for a 20-year moratorium, lands within the Superior National Forest in Northeast Minnesota. This action immediately placed this vast area off limits to future mineral leasing, exploration and potential development for two years while the 20-year withdrawal is being considered. The total withdrawal application boundary spans approximately 425,000 acres, including 95,000 acres of state school trust fund lands. In conjunction with this massive mineral withdrawal, the Obama Administration’s Bureau of Land Management inappropriately rejected Twin Metals Minnesota’s application to renew two hardrock mineral leases in Minnesota’s Superior National Forest – leases that were signed in 1966 and renewed without controversy in 1989 and 2004.”

Another part of the “Congressional Western Caucus (CWC)” press release stated “These bureaucratic decisions could decimate local economies, stifle job creation as well as cause significant harm to K-12 education and mining in Minnesota. These were political, anti-mining and anti-education actions taken by the Obama Administration.” Consider this proof that the Obama administration put a higher priority on weaponizing government to hurt its enemies than it put on helping people and strengthening the economy.

Nobody in their right mind thinks that decimating am entire region’s economy is wise. Nonetheless, that’s what environmentalists are pushing for. They’re pushing for it in the name of preserving pristine lakes and streams but they’re still pushing for decimating the Iron Range’s economy.

Of course, Betty McCollum is outraged:

I spoke with the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on the phone yesterday and he reiterated to me directly just how precious the waters of the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area are and the need for ongoing environmental study. Twenty-four hours later, he broke his word and issued mining leases footsteps from the BWCA to a foreign-owned mining company. Clearly, the numerous assurances I received from Secretary Zinke about protecting the BWCA were worthless and deceitful.

The Trump administration is blatantly dishonest and cannot be trusted. They are determined to sell, exploit, and destroy the American people’s natural treasures like Bears Ears National Monument, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and now our own Boundary Waters and Voyageurs National Park. For every Minnesotan and American who believes in conservation and values our national resources, the battle lines are drawn.

I’m betting that Zinke and Trump are quaking in their boots. Not. The truth is that the Trump administration is simply letting mining companies mine. As for anti-mining adversaries opposed to applying common sense to these situations, I’ve got this simple question: Considering the fact that environmentalists use products that use the precious metals they’re opposed to mining for, will you make up your mind? Either you’re opposed to using products using precious metals (think iPads and iPhones) or you’re a bunch of hypocrites.

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This article certainly will outrage environmentalists. In it, it is reported that “Twin Metals Minnesota will get back its permits to explore for copper on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, and continue working toward a copper mine southeast of Ely, under a decision Friday by the U.S. Interior Department. The move by the Trump administration reverses a decision to hold back the federal mineral leases that was made one year ago by the outgoing Obama administration.”

It doesn’t stop there, though. Shortly thereafter, it says “The new opinion from the Interior Department’s solicitor general concludes that the two leases Twin Metals held from the United States for years, passed on from other companies, granted the company a ‘non-discretionary right’ to another renewal and, therefore, the Bureau of Land Management did not have the discretion to deny Twin Metals’ lease renewal in 2016.”

If you thought that this decision might start a fight with environmental activists, your prediction would’ve been right:

“This shameful reversal by the Trump administration shows that big corporate money and special interest influence now rule again in Republican-controlled Washington,” Dayton said in a statement. “We will have to uncover why the financial interests of a large Chilean corporation, with a terrible environmental record, has trumped the need to protect Minnesota’s priceless Boundary Waters Canoe Area.”

This doesn’t have anything to do with special interests ‘ruling’ Washington, DC. It has everything to do with simple contract law. Once the contract is written and signed, its terms can’t be unilaterally undone unless the contract provides for that.

Doug Niemela, national campaign chair of the group Save the Boundary Waters Wilderness, said his group would challenge the decision in court. He called the Trump administration move “a big, fat Christmas gift for a giant foreign mining corporation willing to do anything to exploit the watershed of Minnesota’s crown jewel Wilderness. It runs contrary to fact, contrary to the law, and contrary to the views of Minnesota voters who love the Boundary Waters and rely on it for thousands of jobs, world-class hunting and fishing, and some of the cleanest water on Earth.”

The good news is that Niemala’s lawsuit will be filed in federal court, where there’s at least a semblance of sanity and clear thinking.

As for Niemala’s statement that Minnesota voters “rely on [the Boundary Waters Wilderness] for thousands of jobs, world-class hunting and fishing”, Craig Seliskar, a resident of Ely, MN, offers a differing opinion of how much tourism adds to the city’s economy, saying “The winter tourism season is starting extremely slow in Ely. It never has been comparable to the summer season. Proving once again that tourism alone CAN NOT hold a candle to the great economical impacts of mining!”

Seliskar notes that the streets of Ely are virtually empty less than a week before Christmas. That isn’t surprising since Ely, MN isn’t generally identified as a Christmas shopping hotspot. Then again, why should Ely residents suffer economically because people from 200+ miles away don’t want mining in places that they rarely see?

The Twin Metals mine is predicted to produce valuable minerals for at least 30 years, including an estimated 5.8 billion pounds of copper and 1.2 billion pounds of nickel along with platinum, palladium, gold and silver.

This fight will soon continue in federal court. At least in federal court, Twin Metals has a fair shot at winning.

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It’s indisputable that past presidents have used the Antiquities Act to create national monuments. The worst presidents in terms of misusing the Antiquities Act were President Obama, President Clinton and President George W. Bush. It’s fair to say that each of those presidents misused the Antiquities Act to sidestep the original intent of the law. Rob Bishop’s op-ed highlights how past presidents have essentially ignored the law in creating national monuments.

In Bishop’s op-ed, he wrote “A few statistics can illustrate the scope of the overreach. Between 1906 and 1943, the law functioned basically as designed. Presidents respected the intent of the act. Most monuments were smaller and had clear boundaries with real antiquities inside them. By contrast, designations under the act last year averaged 739,645 acres, or more than 47 times the size of those created 110 years ago. President Teddy Roosevelt was the first president to use the act. He used it 18 times for a combined total of 1.5 million acres. President Barack Obama used it 37 times to designate 553.6 million acres of land and water.”

Chairman Bishop didn’t just complain about the problem. He’s proposed a solution:

Last week, I introduced legislation to correct these failures and permanently address my colleagues’ concerns. The National Monument Creation and Protection Act would, like the writers of the Antiquities Act intended, allow the president to unilaterally designate land up to 640 acres. Monument designations between 640 and 10,000 acres would be subject to review under the National Environmental Policy Act. Designations between 10,000 and 85,000 acres would be required to obtain the approval of all county commissioners, state legislatures, and governors in the affected area. The bill also standardizes and limits the president’s power to reshape monuments.

Chairman Bishop’s legislation is well-written and desperately needed. Unfortunately, there’s no chance it will pass. That’s because it will get stopped by the Democrats’ filibuster in the Senate. Their environmental activist friends will insist that the bill be stopped.

That’s because these environmental activists want big, unaccountable government. These activists are almost always Democrats, though a handful are Republicans. These activists have proven time and again that they prefer it when government tramples over people in favor of the ‘greater good’ of saving Mother Earth. These activists don’t like the rule of law. Here’s proof:

In 1996, prior to the designation of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Utah, Clinton’s then-Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality Katie McGinty stated the following, “I’m increasingly of the view that we should just drop these utah [sic] ideas. we [sic] do not really know how the enviros will react and I do think there is a danger of ‘abuse’ of the withdraw/antiquities authorities especially because these lands are not really endangered.”

If McGinty’s name sounds familiar, it’s possibly because she ran for Senate in 2016 against Republican Pat Toomey. Thankfully, Sen. Toomey defeated her. But I digress.

It’s disheartening to see Democrats trample over the law. It’s especially disheartening that Democrats do that for a few extra campaign contributions. That’s how cold-hearted Democrats are. This is what’s most disgusting:

The monument was designated in the waning months of Clinton’s re-election campaign. Its total acreage: 1.7 million — three times the size of Rhode Island. No town halls, no public meetings, and no public comment sessions were ever held in Utah. No input was solicited from local stakeholders or land managers in the area. Utah’s governor, congressional delegation, public officials, and residents from across the state all expressed outrage at the lack of prior consultation or warning of the designation. In what feels like symbolism, the proclamation wasn’t even signed in Utah; it was signed in Arizona.

That’s the opposite of transparency. That’s proof that Democrats don’t like accountable government.