Now, you might be tempted to wonder: Who could possibly find a reason to raise a partisan uproar over this?
Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad for escaping slaves. Charles Young and the Buffalo Soldiers. The Rio Grande del Norte in New Mexico. The San Juan Islands off Washington State. The state of Delaware.
These are the places and people honored with new national monuments created Monday by President Obama.
“These sites honor the pioneering heroes, spectacular landscapes and rich history that have shaped our extraordinary country,” Obama said in a statement. “By designating these national monuments today, we will ensure they will continue to inspire and be enjoyed by generations of Americans to come.”
‘Cause hey, everybody likes historical monuments and beautiful parks, and it’s not like any individual one costs a ton of money, relatively speaking. Sounds pretty innocuous, right?
The hell it is. For anyone who actually cares about the state of our natural landscapes and isn’t just trying to find excuses to expand the bureaucracy’s reach, the federal government is a notoriously poor steward of the full one-third of United States’ surface area it already owns, and there are mechanisms in place through which they can keep acquiring more without actually finding a way to pay for it all. Hint: Effective conservation ain’t free, and deferred maintenance, poor management, lack of funds, and wildly deficient and highly political land-use policies (with often disastrous accompanying unintended consequences) are all hallmarks of the federal government’s oversight.