Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Big Places, Big Beauty -- and a Big Lie

As the lies fly from the White House in the matter of Flynn-Russia-election sabotage, it is worth noting that outright deceit is not solely the province of the executive branch.

Republican congressmen are masters of the art, as well.

Here is a blatant case in point:

On Jan. 24, Jason Chaffetz, the Republican who represents Utah’s Third congressional District, re-introduced a thinly-disguised effort to hijack national park, national monument and other public land for the benefit of the Mormon church and the development and extraction industries.  Its official name is H.R. 621, entitled “To direct the Secretary of the Interior to sell certain Federal lands in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming, previously identified as suitable for disposal, and for other purposes.”

Also known as the “Disposal of Excess Federal Lands Act of 2017,”  it usurps an old, discredited federal study of land values in the Everglades to misrepresent vast parcels of park and recreational land as “excess.”  

Environmentalists, historians, scientists, native Americans and just plain citizens noticed the deception and mobilized against the bill.

On Feb. 2, Chaffetz posted the following notice on Instagram:

I am withdrawing HR 621. I'm a proud gun owner, hunter and love our public lands. The bill would have disposed of small parcels of lands Pres. Clinton identified as serving no public purpose but groups I support and care about fear it sends the wrong message. The bill was originally introduced several years ago. I look forward to working with you. I hear you and HR 621 dies tomorrow. 

The opposition rejoiced.  Too soon, it turns out.

On Feb. 10, HR 621, far from being “withdrawn,” was referred to the House Subcommittee on Federal Lands, where it reposes today, still very much alive.

We have a president who is a serial liar.  One of his chief advisers has just been exposed as a liar and has resigned in disgrace.  Everywhere, people who have been elected to represent us actually betray our interests and then lie to us.

Jason Chaffetz is just one of countless serpents in the swamp.  

His duplicity has been exposed on more than one website dedicated to the respectful use of and protection of our public lands.  People will object.  But it remains to be seen if the people hold any power at all in this sorry, sorry land.

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