Republicans in Congress have been relentless in waging a war on America’s public lands – an attempt to strip away, bit by bit, the government’s ability to safeguard parks and public lands from private development.
But now, they’ve taken it one step further, with an assault on America’s coasts. A new Senate bill is threatening “Bundy-style” seizures of coastal national parks that would turn coastal marine management over to states, initiating a feeding frenzy of overfishing and development that could permanently destroy these pristine and environmentally delicate areas.1
The bill would replace the science-based, conservation-focused approach to managing these waters to one that prioritizes development, extraction, and the profits of the highest bidder. We need to tell the Senate to reject this latest salvo in the Republican war on America’s natural heritage.
Introduced by Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Cassidy, S. 2807 would give state governors the power to veto the decisions of national parks and overturn no-fishing zones that have been specifically created to help rebuild reefs and fish populations.2
Rubio and Cassidy’s bill is a nod to the extreme land grab movement best exemplified by Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who initiated a standoff with the Bureau of Land Management and has become a hero to right-wing extremists.
The bill would throw out the National Park System’s entire science-based land and wildlife management program – one that’s designed to preserve, protect, and restore parks. In its place, politicians and political appointees would have free rein to parcel out management and usage of these marine areas to the highest bidder.
The bill represents an escalation in the Republican war on our public lands. Republicans recently tried to repeal the 100-year-old law that allows presidents to designate national monuments, and they introduced a bill that would turn back ownership of all of America’s public lands to states for sale to the highest bidder. CREDO activists have successfully fought back against both. But while most of these attacks so far have specifically exempted national parks, this bill specifically targets national parks for turning over to state control and management.
We can send this horrible idea back to the trash heap in the same way we’ve done for all the others, but it will take an outpouring of push-back from Americans who believe our public lands and waters deserve protection.
Thank you for your activism.
Josh Nelson, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
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- Jenny Rowland and Shiva Polefka, “New Senate Bill Brings Bundy-Style Land Seizure To The Sea,” ThinkProgress, April 22, 2016.
- S.2807 – A bill to amend title 54, United States Code, to require State approval before the Secretary of the Interior restricts access to waters under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service for recreational or commercial fishing.
Cliven Bundy, is just the latest in a long line of desert dwellers who thinks he or she should not have to follow the law and has a god-given right to unlimited use of public resources, in this case, rangeland.
Bundy has not paid grazing fees in close to 20 years. Bundy also faced restrictions because he continued to graze cattle on a slice of public land reserved for the endangered desert tortoise. He was invited to talk to Sean Hannity (of course) about the “standoff.”
“We want freedom,” Bundy said. I don’t know what freedom Bundy’s talking about. He does not own the land nor does he even pay the modest fees required to use it. Thousands of ranchers across the West pay fees for their businesses, but Bundy thinks he should get to use public resources to make a personal profit. Cliven Bundy, far from being a patriot.
Bundy is using the language of freedom, patriotism and outright paranoia to further his business interests.