Trump Order Reviews Obama-Era Land Grabs

Brad Jones Contributor
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After eight years of oppressive restrictions on every facet of the mining industry from coal to gold, miners are finally beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

President Donald Trump today signed an executive order to review national monument designations made under the Antiquities Act by former President Barack Obama.

During the Obama era, not only were there massive hikes in federal mining claim fees, suction dredge gold mining bans in Democrat strongholds of Oregon and California, and costly court battles, but Obama sidestepped Congress to declare 33 national monuments by executive order under the Antiquities Act of 1906.

Obama’s plan to “fundamentally transform America” and sideline traditional American primary industries such as mining, ranching and timber to appease radical environmental lobbyists and promote his vision of a “green economy” has failed miserably.

The Obama-era policies do not set well with the vast majority of small-scale miners who respect existing federal mining laws and the U.S. Constitution. Miners want to reclaim their rights under the federal Mining Law of 1872 and push back against the Obama-era restrictions as well as the crackdown on mining by the Democrat-controlled state governments in California and Oregon. They expect the full co-operation of the establishment Republicans remaining in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.

President Donald Trump has defied all odds ever since he stormed the political arena during the so-called “Summer of Trump” in 2015. The New York billionaire tapped into the mood of many working class Americans with a simple phrase once made famous by former President Ronald Reagan: “Make America Great, Again.” These four words are still resonating with many Americans and conservatives around the world, so it’s no wonder Trump was quick to trademark the slogan. The elephant in the room is now the silent majority of Americans who are ready to make a lot of things great again, including our primary industries.

Of course, there should be a healthy balance between the environment and primary industries, but the Obama-era policies that regulate mining activity have strayed from reality and common sense. Under Obama, the polices shifted to a radical environmental agenda based on skewed science. Lawyered-up environmental lobby groups have been accused of colluding with government agencies and profiting through sue-and-settle lawsuits under the Equal Access to Justice Act by suing those same agencies.

President Barack Obama reigned as the kings of old as though it were his divine right to reclaim the tens of millions of acres of public lands from the people. And yet, he abdicated his throne by blindly handling over congressional power to federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service. Rule-making by these out-of-control federal agencies seems to have replaced lawmaking and attempts to make Congress irrelevant.

National monuments spanning tens of millions of acres are clearly not what President Theodore Roosevelt had in mind when he signed the Antiquities Act into law on June 8, 1906. This law gives the President of the United States the authority to, by presidential proclamation, create national monuments from public lands to protect significant natural, cultural or scientific features. But, in today’s political climate, environmentalists seem to want everything “protected for future generations,” rather than allow timber, prospecting, mining, grazing and water rights for today.

Eventually, mining will make a comeback. It has to because development is not sustainable without the minerals and metals used in virtually everything. Unless the American people reclaim their right to access, prospect and mine on public lands and rein in our runaway government in Washington, we’re going to end up with something much different than a constitutional republic, which is what really needs to be “protected for future generations.”

Brad Jones is a freelance journalist based in Southern California. He can be reached at AmericanLibertyPost@gmail.com.