‘Anti-Public Lands’ Narrative False Says Western Caucus Chairman
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) rejected the charge that he—or any member of the Congressional Western Caucus—is “anti-public lands.”
The chairman of the caucus called a recent $100,000 media push by the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) attacking Gosar and three other House members “false” in an email to Western Wire.
“The League of Conservation Voters’ false propaganda campaign attempts to deceive voters by calling the monument review ‘unprecedented.’ In fact, national monuments have been reduced 18 times previously by other presidents,” Gosar said. “This misguided nonprofit effort also attempts to generate opposition and attack Republicans for reportedly ‘ignoring’ their constituents when the reality is the monument review was initiated because previous presidents ignored the opposition of local communities when they locked up millions of acres of land with the stroke of a pen.”
Gosar pointed to a review by The Washington Times that found 18 previous examples of administrative review ending in reductions of national monuments in size or scope, according to the National Park Service and the House Natural Resources Committee.
LCV’s ad buy names four Republican representatives from Western states, including Gosar. Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.), Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), and Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) are also targeted in the “final push” opposing the Interior Department’s review of national monuments, expected to conclude this week.
“With the futures of Organ-Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument and Rio Grande del Norte National Monument on the line, the League of Conservation Voters is investing $100,000 in a final push to urge Congressman Steve Pearce and other members of Congress to stop attacking our public lands and to ensure the Trump administration hears the overwhelming outpouring of support for our national monuments ahead of the August 24th deadline for its unprecedented monument ‘review,’” the LCV wrote in a statement.
“Congressional Western Caucus is not anti-public lands. The difference between Western Caucus and LCV is that WC doesn’t believe in granting the President the fiat powers of a King – regardless whether we agree or disagree with a given President’s stance.”
“The League of Conservation Voters is a progressive dark money manipulator fronting as a single-issue ecological outfit,” said Gosar. “Like the radicals that fund it, the LCV is concerned with dramatically redrawing the political map to suit far-left special interests.”
The Capital Research Center has called LCV a “frontline funnel” for dark money. The group also has close financial ties to California billionaire Tom Steyer.
“Further, neither our Constitution nor statutory intent grants the President unfettered right to declare huge tracts of land untouchable on a whim. But that is how the Antiquities Act was used during the last administration. The merits of individual monuments are separate questions – questions this review actually permits to be asked,” said Gosar.
“We’re all-hands-on-deck on monuments right now,” said Aaron Weiss, a spokesman for the Center for Western Priorities, told The Hill. “Clearly across the conservation world, recognizing this is completely unprecedented, I think that’s part of the reason why you’ve seen the scale of the response you’re seeing,” he said.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has already called for no modifications to several national monuments under the current review, Sand to Snow in California, Grand Canyon-Parashant in Arizona, Upper Missouri River Breaks in Montana, and Canyons of the Ancients in Colorado.
“In fact, the very reason LCV is having to spend so much money on ads to lobby this issue is because their policy solution is dependent on a President they can control being in office,” Gosar said.
That power is a double-edged sword, according to Gosar.
“Proponents of an unfettered Antiquities Act should realize that what a President giveth, the next President can take away. If that disturbs LCV, we welcome them to join us in calling for a legislative solution to this politicized issue,” said Gosar.