Is Steve Pearce ‘Anti-Parks’?

Source: “The Congressional Anti-Parks Caucus in Power,” Center for American Progress

The man who’s likely to be the Republican nominee for governor of New Mexico belongs to a cabal of fedpols “whose long-term goals involve selling out parks and public lands to the highest bidder at the expense of the American people.”

Well, he does, if the Center for American Progress can be trusted.

CAP believes that under “the cover and support of an aggressively anti-conservation administration,” members of the “2017 congressional anti-parks caucus” are “working hard to advance their unpopular agenda,” including “endorsing bills that open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling to sponsoring legislation that blocks a president’s authority to protect public lands.”

Nineteen rascally congresscritters appear on CAP’s list, including Steve Pearce, who currently represents New Mexico’s 2nd congressional district as is seeking to be elected governor in 2018. According to CAP, earlier this month, Pearce

signed on to a letter to President Trump applauding the administration’s monument review and requesting “the shrinking or rescission of a majority of the monuments under review.” In the letter, the members call the national monuments under review “affronts to our very mode of governance.” Rep. Pearce has an extensive track record of co-sponsoring anti-parks legislation, having signed on to seven bills this year.

Even worse, Pearce has a “Tea party, House Freedom Caucus, or House Liberty Caucus affiliation,” and his district’s vote for Donald Trump last year was above the national average! (The chart posted above is a helpful guide to just how out-of-touch the “2017 congressional anti-parks caucus” is.)

Calling all who dare to question Washington’s dominance of vast portions of the country “anti-parks” is a clever trick. As anyone who knows much of anything about federally “owned” land is aware, very little of D.C.’s holdings are gorgeous gems such as the Grand Canyon, Dry Tortugas, or Yellowstone. Much of the acreage is not parkland at all, and is quire prosaic, if not wasteland — with ANWR leading the pack.

Rather than question why so many of the West’s elected officials have grown tired of Washington’s micromanagement, CAP is content to bray about chimerical threats to “national parks and public lands.” Its scaremongering about even mild attempts to restrain D.C. rings hollower when one considers the role local governments, state governments, and nonprofit organizations play in preserving properties of environmental and/or historical importance. From Central Park to the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, the Lahontan State Recreation Area to the Nathan Hale Homestead, Franconia Notch State Park to the Texas Land Trust Council, nonfederal entities are doing an impressive job.

Another question for CAP’s “scholars”: Why do states with very little federal presence perform so highly on environmental scorecards? Connecticut, for example, has less than 1 percent of its acreage under Washington’s control. Yet the Nutmeg State clusters near the top on lists of “green” states. Other eco-stars where the feds are all but nonexistent include Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Minnesota.

Pearce’s political opponents are sure to make his environmental “extremism” a key line of attack in the gubernatorial election. Whatever the congressman’s assets and liabilities as New Mexico’s next chief executive, don’t let deep-pocketed alarmists in D.C. distract from a genuine debate over land-use and energy policies in the Land of Enchantment.

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