Republican Sen. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming ripped President Joe Biden for warping an iconic conservation law to target energy production in the United States.
President Joe Biden announced the creation of two new national monuments in Nevada and Texas using the Antiquities Act Tuesday, closing off over 500,000 acres to economic development. The area protected in Nevada is reportedly rich in rare-earth metals and could also be used for wind and solar power generation, according to Fox News.
“The Antiquities Act was used to great benefit of the nation in the early 20th century, but they used it in a way that was measured and reasonable,” Lummis told Fox Business host Larry Kudlow, a former Trump administration official. “It created well-defined areas that should be preserved for recreation and for the enjoyment of the people.” (RELATED: Speaker McCarthy Unveils Key Legislation To ‘Lower Energy Costs,’ Make China ‘Dependent’ On American Natural Gas)
While Biden approved the Willow Project in Alaska on March 13, he also blocked future energy development in an additional 16 million acres in the state, even though the United States Geological Survey estimated that the North Slope of Alaska had 3.6 billion barrels of oil and 8.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in January 2020.
“Upon learning that the president was considering unilateral action, I reached out to the White House to raise several concerns, citing the potential for terminal disruption of rare earth mineral mining projects,” Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo said, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
The Biden administration has targeted American energy production since Biden was inaugurated. The Biden administration revoked the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline in January 2021 and cancelled an offshore lease sale in May after issuing new regulations for onshore drilling for oil and natural gas. Biden promised to phase out fossil fuels during his 2020 campaign for president.
“But now they’re using it, taking millions of acres, millions at a time and taking it off limits to a whole variety of uses including energy production,” Lummis continued. “So the purpose of the Antiquities Act has been warped and bent in a way that I don’t believe it was ever intended.”
President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act into law in 1906, then used it 18 times to protect land from development, including the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest and Lassen Peak, according to a 2016 statement by the Department of the Interior.
“Our international strategies, our economic strategies, are completely backwards,” Lummis told Kudlow.
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