April 28, 2017
"to elevate the condition of
men--to lift artificial weights from all shoulders, to clear the
paths of laudable pursuit for all, to afford all an unfettered
start and a fair chance, in the race of life." --Abraham Lincoln
Chairman's Note: The First Step
Towards Revoking Obama's Land Grab
What is done by executive power
can be undone by executive power.
President Obama began to learn
that lesson this Wednesday when President Trump signed an
executive order directing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to
conduct a review of all Antiquities Act designations larger than
100,000 acres over the past 30 years.
Specifically, the executive order
directs Secretary Zinke to consider "the requirements and
original objectives of the Act, including the Act's requirement
that reservations of land not exceed 'the smallest area
compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to
be protected'" and whether "designated lands are appropriately
classified under the Act as 'historic landmarks, historic and
prehistoric structures, [or] other objects of historic or
This wording strongly suggests
that President Obama's lame duck decision to designate 1.35
million acres in San Juan County as a national monument will at
least be significantly reduced and possibly entirely rescinded.
Some environmental activists may
claim that President Trump does not have the power to shrink or
revoke President Obama's Antiquities Act designations, but these
claims are ignorant of both history and the law.
For starters, as University of
California Berkeley Law School professor John Yoo and Pacific
Legal Foundation Executive Director John Gaziano detailed in a
recent legal report, five presidents have significantly reduced
four previous monument designations and no one has ever
questioned the legality of those reductions.
Eisenhower reduced the Great Sand Dunes National Monument by 25
percent, President Truman reduced the Santa Rosa Island National
Monument by 49 percent, Presidents Taft, Wilson, and Coolidge
collectively reduced the Mount Olympus monument by 49 percent,
and President Taft reduced the Navajo National Monument by 89
A current president's power to
alter a previous president's flows from the text of the statute
which authorizes the president "in his discretion, to declare by
public proclamation… national monuments…. the
limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest
area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to
As Yoo and Gaziano point out,
"there is no temporal limit" on the requirement that a monument
must be limited to "the smallest area compatible with proper care
and management of the objects to be protected" so all presidents
must use their ongoing discretion as to whether every monument is
the proper size.
"What is done by executive power
can be undone by executive power."
Furthermore, what if a later
president determines that an earlier president's designation was
so exceedingly beyond the "smallest area compatible with proper
care " that the entire designation was illegal? Yoo and Gaziano
argue that the entire monument designation could be revoked.
Whatever Sec. Zinke does end up
recommending to President Trump, and a preliminary report is due
in 45 days on Utah's Bears Ears National Monument, further
executive action will only be the beginning of solving San Juan
County's public lands issues.
Congress will then need to pick
up the Public Lands Initiative legislation that was working
through the House before President Obama derailed the
legislative process and pass a common sense solution that
includes real input from local residents. Only through the
legislation can local residents, including the Navajo, be given
real power over their land use decisions.
The Next Step for Healthcare
Click here to watch video
Issue in Focus: Making the
Internet Innovative Again
Americans love their mobile
devices. They want to be able to watch, listen, and play any
video whenever they want, wherever they want, and for as long as
they want. And they don't want to pay a fortune for the privilege
to do so.
For most of the history of the
Internet, companies have been free to find innovative new ways to
meet America's insatiable demand for data. But progressive
activists have never been comfortable with the unregulated nature
of the Internet. They have always wanted government bureaucrats
to have more control over how the Internet is managed.
After President Obama installed
like-minded progressives on the Federal Communications
Commission, the FCC realized those progressive dreams when they
introduced the agency's first "net neutrality" regulations,
called the Open Internet Order of 2010.
Those regulations were
immediately challenged in court, and the FCC lost that court
battle in 2014. But in 2015 they issued a new "Open Internet
Order" which had an immediate impact on the market.
That same year, T-Mobile
introduced a "Binge On" plan which offered customers unlimited
data on some video options including Netflix, HBO, and Hulu.
While then-FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler called the "Binge On" plan
"innovative," progressive activists thought the plan was a clear
violation of the brand new net neutrality regulations and lobbied
the FCC to kill the plan.
But before the FCC could act,
T-Mobile ended Binge On and created a new plan called Uncarrier
which allows customers to download all the data they want, but
charges an extra $25 to upgrade the quality of video from 480p to
Progressive activists went crazy
again calling this new plan another violation of the FCC's new
net neutrality regulations.
Fortunately T-Mobile no longer
has to worry about progressive activists dictating how they
engineer their wireless system. This Wednesday new FCC Chairman
Ajit Pai announced that he would be repealing the 2015 Open
"Going forward, we cannot stick
with regulations from the Great Depression meant to micromanage
Ma Bell," Pai said. "Instead, we need rules that focus on growth
and infrastructure investment, rules that expand high-speed
Internet access everywhere and give Americans more online choice,
faster speeds, and more innovation. "
While Pai's move is a welcome
reprieve from innovation-killing government regulation, a future
Democratic president could easily reintroduce President Obama's
net neutrality rules.
That is why I will introduce the
Restoring Internet Freedom Act next week, a bill that would
nullify the Federal Communications Commission's 2015 Open
Internet Order and prohibit the FCC from issuing a similar rule
in the future.
Congress should be the one
setting telecommunications policy, not federal bureaucrats and I
look forward to engaging in this debate in the months ahead.
361A Russell Senate
Salt Lake City
Wallace F. Bennett
125 South State,
Salt Lake City, UT
Office of Senator
Michael S. Lee
285 West Tabernacle,
St. George, UT 84770
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