All too often, people come along and say: “there oughta be a law” or “government should do….” This view was expressed relative to the Petroglyphs National Monument by a group called Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
While I certainly respect PEER’s having called attention to this issue, I find fault with the attitude that more government is the answer to cleaning up this national monument. My letter which can be found below was printed recently in the paper:
Certainly, it is hard to disagree with the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility that “something” needs to be done to clean up trash and junk at the Petroglyph National Monument. The question is, how?
Study after study by the Government Accountability Office has found that the federal government is incapable of adequately managing its own lands. In 2003, the GAO reported that the National Park Service’s maintenance backlog was more than $5 billion. Since then, federal land acquisitions have accelerated, placing even greater burdens on an obviously inefficient and overstrained system.
While the City of Albuquerque’s lands are much more limited, governments inevitably suffer from unlimited demands upon limited resources. Patrolling for dumping never seems to be at the top of the priority list (usually for good reason).
Rather than waiting for either government to act, perhaps PEER and other concerned citizens could put together volunteer groups to clean up the Petroglyphs? Perhaps they could even form a non-profit to actually clean up the land rather than lobbying the government to do so? The size and scope of the federal government’s indebtedness need not be re-stated in full detail here and this seems like one small way in which we can take responsibility for improving our small portion of the country without waiting for someone from the government to do it for us.