President Barack Obama has seized more than 260 million acres of land and water throughout his tenure using the Antiquities Act of 1906.
As his final presidential term comes to an end, the Obama White House has increased its pace of declaring thousands of acres of land and water federal property.
As reported by MRC:
In a move ignored by the liberal media last week, Obama unilaterally seized more than 1.3 million acres from Utah to establish the Bears Ears Monument, preserving it at the behest of conservationist groups and Native American tribes who claimed the land was sacred. Utah’s state legislature, however, opposed the unilateral land grab across party lines, with many speculating that Obama’s move is the latest in an attempt to limit efforts from incoming President Donald Trump to expand domestic energy production.
Obama also claimed 300,000 acres in Clark County, Nevada, as the Gold Butte National Monument, effectively closing the area off to future development for uranium mining, oil drilling or natural gas production.
While it’s certainly nothing new, Obama’s habit of unilaterally confiscating land has ramped up heading into the final stretch of his presidency. In the eight years he’s been in office, President Obama has seized more than 553 million acres of land and water (roughly 865,000 square miles) and placed it under federal ownership and control – enough square mileage to cover the entire state of Texas more than three times over. In fact, the self-aggrandizing conservationist-in-chief has placed more land and coastal areas under federal control than any other president in history, shutting off millions of miles of land to energy production or human settlement, along with shifting it outside the scope of local and state jurisdictions.
Congress and the incoming Trump administration are keen on repealing Obama’s actions, but it remains unclear if they can because of the way the Antiquities Act is written.
While the act was created to give the president the authority to quickly declare a land protected when congressional action would move to slow to keep the significant property safe from impending danger, the past three presidential administrations have used it mostly to cement their legacies.
In other words, if Congress wants to prevent similar presidential land grabs in the future, they’ll need to amend the act.