08 Sep Rep. Hardy Lies in Letter to Constituent
A constituent from Congressional District 4 represented by Rep. Hardy recently wrote him an email expressing their support for the Basin and Range National Monument. Below is the response they received from Rep. Hardy.
From: “Rep. Cresent Hardy” <Rep.CresentHardy@mail.house.
Sent: September 8, 2015
To:(DELETED FOR PRIVACY)
Subject: From the Desk of Cresent Hardy
4th District, Nevada
COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES
COMMITTEE ON SMALL BUSINESS
430 Cannon House Office Bldg
Washington, DC 20515
2250 N. Las Vegas Blvd.
North Las Vegas, NV 89030
Dear (DELETED FOR PRIVACY)
> Thank you for contacting me in regard to President Obama’s designation of the Basin and Range area of Nevada as a national monument. It is a privilege to serve you in Congress and I value your opinion.
> In July of this year, with the stroke of a pen (Lie #1: Years of work went into making this designation possible), President Obama unilaterally designated more than 700,000 acres of Lincoln and Nye Counties as a national monument. In doing so, the president closed off a land area nearly the size of the state of Rhode Island from traditional land uses and economic activities that help support the livelihoods of hardworking families in rural southeastern Nevada. (Lie #2: The land has NOT been closed off, and traditional uses, such as grazing, are allowed to continue under the new designation.)
> There was no consultation with the units of local government most affected by such an executive action, not even debate or votes in either chamber of Congress by Nevada’s elected representatives. (Lie #3: There were several discussions with local governments and there was a bill introduced in both chambers of Congress. It was Rep. Hardy’s Republican colleagues who refused to allow debate or votes.) My office was not even formally notified of the president’s intentions until a matter of hours before the official announcement, which was issued in the dead of night. (Lie #4: Read the next sentence.)
> Were it not for my publication of a draft White House proclamation back in May, and the ensuing public debate it sparked, the president’s decision to force this action could have had serious national security implications. By identifying the threats this monument designation posed and achieving inclusion of an amendment in the House passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I was able to force the Administration’s hand to offer stronger protections for vital ground-based military training activities associated with the Nevada Test and Training Range. (Lie #5: A monument designation never had national security implications on this or any other designation.)
> But despite this important success, there is still a large disconnect between Washington bureaucrats and everyday Americans. Our nation’s public lands should not be managed by executive fiat. This is especially true in Western states like Nevada, where more than 80 percent of the land within our border is controlled by the federal government.
> Land-use decisions should be consultative and incorporate the viewpoints and expertise of those closest to the affected land: in this case, the residents of Lincoln and Nye Counties.
> There are those who may argue that designating national monuments, like the Basin and Range, is the prerogative of the president. They often point to the precedent that has been established under the Antiquities Act, highlighting its bipartisan usage over the last century.
> But this argument rings hollow. When Congress passed and President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act, it was intended to guard against the destruction of Native American artifacts and archeological treasures. (This is an interesting point made by Rep. Hardy since Basin and Range has Native American archaeological treasures.) The exact language of the law even states that that the limits of designated monuments should be “confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected.”
> Unfortunately, the original intent of the Antiquities Act has been discarded and the law has been manipulated for use on projects more focused on legacy-building than actual protection of artifacts or lands. It has become a holdover from a bygone era, and should be modernized for the 21st century. (Not sure what he is talking about here… since again Basin and Range fits into the “original intent” of the Antiquities Act.)
> I have already taken concrete steps to begin this process by gaining inclusion of an amendment to the FY16 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill to bar funding for new monument designations in Clark, Lincoln and Nye Counties, as well as a number of other counties in Western states where there has been a demonstrated local opposition to designations.
> Going forward, I believe that Congress has a responsibility to fix the antiquated Antiquities Act so that future administrations cannot steamroll the will of the people. (Funny that he would say this to a constituent that is writing about their support for the designation of Basin and Range.)
> Again, I appreciate your concern for the Basin and Range area of our state. At the end of the day, I agree that we must do everything in our power to protect what needs to be protected for future generations. (Lie #6: This sentence should come with an asterisk – except using the Antiquities Act.) The Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument is a perfect example of the right way to go about protecting our natural treasures. (Hoping this means he will support the current bill in Congress to protect Gold Butte.) But top-down declarations from Washington that lack local input cannot be permitted to continue.
> We need to be smart with our public land management. We need to give local communities a say.
> For more information on my work in Congress, please visit my website at www.hardy.house.gov. And while you are there, be sure to sign up for my e-newsletter to stay up to date on my work in the House of Representatives. You can also interact with me on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Thank you again for contacting me to make your voice heard.
> Cresent Hardy
> Member of Congress