Legislation to turn 340,550 acres of New Mexico into a federal wilderness area where we can’t keep illegal aliens, drug smugglers, or terrorists from coming into the U.S., may well become law soon, warns an Oct. 17 report. The legislation was propelled steadily in the 111th Congress by New Mexico’s Senators. And it’s only a piece of the plan to enlarge federal real estate holdings.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), in an October report pleaded with key government agencies to help the Border Patrol and permit its agents to access border areas for surveillance of illegal activities. Over the past five years, the Border Patrol has nearly doubled its number of agents, built hundred of miles of border fence, and installed equipment to spot illegal traffic, at a cost of $1.6 billion. But the border still leaks like a sieve.
A wilderness area, as described romantically in the 1964 act, which set up the first one, “is an area where the earth and community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” No roads, vehicles, or structures are allowed.
Jim Switzer, chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers charged, “The presence of any Wilderness on the Mexican border is a danger to the security of the United States. The area is over 532 square miles,” half the size of Rhode Island. Prohibitions of Wilderness rules would keep law enforcers from using sensors, radio transmitters or microwave towers for surveillance. “Our borders have never been so severely tested.”
The Obama Administration’s Interior Department is blocking access to vast areas of federal lands, preventing the Border Patrol from sealing or even patrolling border areas, the GAO report says.
More than 40 percent of the southwest borderland has been deemed “federal land,” managed by the Interior Department.
“The severity of the crisis along the border cannot be underestimated,” says Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah). Huge stretches of the nation’s borderlands have been surrendered to waves of criminals. The border is weakest where it’s under the wings of the Interior Department, which claims it is protecting precious Wilderness.
New Mexico’s Democrat Senators Jeff Bingaman, chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Tom Udall, sponsored legislation last year (expected to be pushed again in the new Congress) to put the thousands more acres under the purview of the Interior Department. Bingaman is the epitome of the ultra-liberal environmentalist, and apparently not as concerned about national security.
Bingaman hopes to seal off for the government millions of acres in legislation even during the lame-duck session in time permits. According to The American Spectator of Nov. 12, Bingaman’s committee has sent more than 60 bills to the floor that would establish new wilderness areas, national parks, monuments, and wildlife sanctuaries. His spokesman confirmed this new overwhelming land lock down.
The land that’s being “protected” is the most oil- and natural resource- rich real estate we have. The largest deposits of shale oil, for example, are in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Each state has a huge percentage of federal land.
Uncle Sam owns nearly 650 million acres of real estate, almost 30 percent of the land area of the United States. This includes National Parks, National Forests, and National Wildlife Refuges.
The Bureau of Land Management, an agency under the Interior Department, manages 253 million acres, one-eighth of the country’s land mass. It also manages 700 million acres of subsurface mineral lands underlying federal, state and private properties.
A larger-than-ever land grab may be about to happen, according to a World News.com story Oct. 8. The story said an internal BLM document described an array of programs to use the vast federal lands for huge wind farms and other “green” energy programs. BLM advocates “expanded land-building” and “acquiring parcels adjacent to its current holdings.” The internal memorandum confirms the government’s infinite yearning for land enlargement. BLM, under the new plan, would recommend that the Administration use the Antiquities Act to designate new national monuments by Presidential degree if necessary.
Efforts are underway to advance important on-the-ground initiatives, the Wilderness Society said Nov. 15. “It is heartening to see,” gleefully commented Bill Meadows, president of the environmental organization. “Agencies like the Department of Interior, including the Bureau of Land Management, will be bringing together stakeholders and decision makers next week in Nevada to talk about how the National Landscape Conservation System has served our communities….”
In June 2000, the Interior Department established the 26 million-acre National Landscape Conservation System, administered by the Bureau of Land Management to protect so-called “special areas.”
Politics is what federal land management is all about. And in this Administration the politico-environmentalists get their way—a threat to ranchers, farmers, coal mining, oil drilling and many other private property owners.
The BLM’s proposed landscape approach supports Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s key directions and priorities enshrined in his 2009 Secretarial Order No. 3286 which prioritized development of renewable energy on public lands.
As the Obama Administration builds its real estate empire a song comes to mind: “This Land Is Your Land,” about a progressive utopia with no ownership of property. The song was written by Woody Guthrie—a communist.