Senators Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch, both R-Utah, unveiled the Utah National Monument Parity Act last week, intended to prohibit any new monument designation for Utah by the president using the Antiquities Act. In defense of this high-rolling legislation, Senator Lee stated, “New Yorkers would not appreciate it if Utahns came in and told them what they could and couldn’t build in Manhattan.”
Really, Mr. Lee? Do you honestly not see the distinction between private land in Manhattan and public land in Utah? But if you really wish to go down that preposterous road, then yeah – we’d be smoldering horn-mad if you came to New York City with your attitude of, “take what you can get now and wonder how to clean up the horrifying mess later” and planted a Roughneck Air-Operated Double Diaphragm Oil Pump smack in the middle of Central Park – the nation’s first “public” park.
Public lands are lands held in trust and Senator Lee has been around long enough to know that. Anything less than honoring that trust for the future of all living organisms, including our super-species – grappling with being a fully developed, high-humanistic, civilized world community in the process of making peace with nature – is an unacceptable abnegation of legislative responsibility.