CONSERVATIVES FOR RESPONSIBLE STEWARDSHIP
“Our physical health, our social happiness, and our economic well-being will be sustained only by all of us working in partnership as thoughtful, effective stewards of our natural resources.”
“Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed.”
“We must remember our duty to Nature before it is too late. That duty is constant. It is never completed…It will weigh on our shoulders for as long as we wish to dwell on a living and thriving planet, and hand it on to our children and theirs.”
“Conservation is a great moral issue, for it involves the patriotic duty of insuring the safety and continuance of the nation.”
“We have too long treated the natural world as an adversary rather than as a life-sustaining gift from the Almighty. If man has the genius to build, which he has, he must also have the ability and the responsibility to preserve.”
“While I am a great believer in the free enterprise system and all that it entails, I am an even stronger believer in the right our people to live in a clean and pollution-free environment.”
The Trump administration’s unprecedented rollback of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments in Utah—along with signals of more monument slashing to come—has generated strong pushback from conservatives. In addition to CRS, Citizens of the Republic (founded by Ronald Reagan), and the Green Tea Coalition have rallied to the defense of America’s national monuments–all coordinating their efforts as part of the American Monuments Alliance. In addition, numerous conservative legal scholars have challenged the administration’s rollbacks as unlawful and unconstitutional.
Even more telling, recent polling shows that the vast majority of conservatives oppose the administration’s national monument rollbacks. For example, a national poll by McLaughlin & Associates late last year found that 85 percent of Republicans nationwide support keeping existing national monument designations in place or increasing their number.
Safeguarding important parts of America’s natural and cultural heritage has always been conservative. As President Reagan once noted, “What is a conservative after all but one who conserves.” Prudence, tradition, and selfless concern for future generations are all hallmarks of genuine conservatism. Those on the political right who betray those values are not conservative.read more
Over the past year, our public lands and waters have been under siege like never before. National monuments, the Arctic Refuge, sensitive coastal areas, have all had their protections removed. Countless other public land protections and environmental safeguards have been scrapped. Soon we may be adding the selloff of our public lands to that list.
The Trump administration’s recently leaked infrastructure document, titled “Funding Principles,” appears to call for selling off America’s great outdoors to special interests as a way of funding its infrastructure goals. In the section titled Disposition of Federal Real Property, it “would establish through executive order the authority to allow for the disposal of Federal assets.” If enacted, President Trump and/or Secretary Zinke would be able to sell our publicly owned lands as they see fit.
Apparently, it does not matter that during the campaign both Trump and Zinke claimed to oppose any efforts to sell or otherwise transfer America’s public lands. This is something CRS will be monitoring closely.read more
With his recent announcement in Utah that he intends to dramatically slash Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments, President Trump has crossed the threshold from ill-advised rhetoric to illegality. While this is the clear consensus of legal minds from across the political spectrum, conservative lawyers and experts well steeped in the U.S. Constitution are sounding some of the loudest alarms.
A new legal paper from Bruce Fein, an associate deputy attorney general under President Reagan, and W Bruce DelValle—both partners at the firm Fein & DelValle PLLC—makes the case that Trump’s actions are not simply illegal, they are unconstitutional.
Fein and DelValle point out that in crafting the Antiquities Act, which grants presidents the authority to establish national monuments, Congress never “intended to crown the President with discretion to revoke or materially diminish or alter the management of an existing national monument.”read more