As Kimberly Nicoletti reports for The Aspen Times, supporters of the long effort to pass the CORE Act, which would designate new national monuments and federal lands, are hoping a final decision is just around the corner:
Colorado ski towns could have a national monument right in their backyards, relatively speaking, and supporters hope it happens this fall.
On Saturday, Vet Voice Foundation, community leaders, elected officials, and 10th Mountain veterans — including a 100-year-old 10th Mountain veteran — will gather with the public at the Colorado Snowsports Museum for a rally to support the proposed Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument…
…CORE is a 10-year citizens’ campaign that has passed in the U.S. House of Representatives five times but stalled in the Senate. It would safeguard areas including the Thompson Divide, the San Juan Mountains, the Continental Divide and Camp Hale, and the Curecanti National Recreation Area. [Pols emphasis]
CORE Act champions, including Sens. Bennet and Hickenlooper, Rep. Neguse and Gov. Polis, are urging the Biden administration to designate the Camp Hale-Continental Divide region a national monument through executive action.
As readers of Colorado Pols probably know, the CORE Act is something that has wide support across Colorado but has been regularly opposed by some Republicans doing the bidding of the extraction and logging industries. Republicans often pretend that their opposition is because of other interests — including a tortured attempt to claim that the CORE Act would increase wildfires — but those arguments are specious at best.
Speaking of “specious,” Colorado Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert recently drafted a letter to President Biden signed by fellow Colorado Reps. Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn (as well as non-Colorado lunatics such as Reps. Louis Gohmert, Andy Biggs, and Paul Gosar) asking Biden to oppose the CORE Act. The idiocy of this letter is instructive for understanding the lack of legitimate arguments against protecting more than 400,000 acres of public land in Colorado for recreational use. You can read the full letter here (Boebert-AntiquitiesAct-PDF); we’ve broken down the main arguments below.
We write with grave concern regarding new efforts to unilaterally impose severe land-use restrictions on the people of Colorado and across the American West. For years, partisan big-city Democrats – with the full backing and support of the far-Left green energy cartel – have attempted to implement massive new land grabs through the so-called Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act. The CORE Act land grab seeks to impose increased land restrictions on nearly 400,000 acres, 73,000 acres of which would be designated as new wilderness and close numerous forms of outdoor recreation and multiple-use, exacerbating wildfires in the process.
Boebert can’t even bother to address Biden as “President,” but that’s pretty standard childishness from the representative of the third congressional district. The first paragraph is filled with MAGA jargon such as “big-city Democrats” and “far-Left green energy cartel,” and it concludes by claiming that the CORE Act would “exacerbate wildfires.” We’re not sure how the logic works here, but presumably Boebert is concerned that private industry won’t be allowed to rake the forests if the CORE Act is implemented.
This is a good point to stop and remind readers that both Boebert and Buck were among a minority in Congress who just this month voted AGAINST the Wildfire Recovery Act for reasons neither person has bothered to explain.
Boebert’s letter warns that “without local buy-in, any designation of land under the Antiquities Act will be subject to considerable controversy, as well as never-ending litigation.” What the letter does not mention is that there is, in fact, substantial “local buy-in” for the CORE Act.
This is where things get particularly ridiculous. The letter lists 59 “stakeholders” that have formally objected to the CORE Act. Before we get into that list, remember that the CORE Act only deals with public lands in Colorado.
There are a handful of national organizations included in her letter among 59 opposition “stakeholders,” such as the American Energy Alliance; the Independent Petroleum Association of America; Industrial Miners Association; and groups called “Protect Americans Now” and “Less Government.” There are also a number of corporations, such as Encore Energy; Prime Fuels Corp.; and Sabre Gold.
The “stakeholders” list also includes four organizations from Arizona; four organizations based in New Mexico; and even one that is from California (California Farm Bureau). How this is relevant is not a question we can answer, though it would be fun to ask Boebert why she thinks California should be involved in decisions that affect Colorado.
There are a handful of groups on Boebert’s list that are actually located in Colorado, among them the Colorado Livestock Association and the Colorado Wool Growers Association. Opposition is also listed as coming from Colorado counties such as Archuleta; Cheyenne; “Freemont” [sic]; Dolores; Mesa; Mineral; and Montezuma. Not mentioned, of course, is the pesky fact that the CORE Act would not designate any new protected land in any of these counties.
Boebert’s letter concludes with these dire warnings:
While Camp Hale and our servicemembers that were stationed there made important contributions to World War II, we don’t support the efforts of extremist environmentalists who are seeking to hijack this historic place to create a new land designation – a designation that literally does not exist – to prohibit timber harvesting and mining on nearly 30,000 acres of land.
A second request made by our colleagues would permanently withdraw 200,000 acres of land in the Thompson Divide – an area blessed with an abundance of natural gas deposits – from energy exploration. Notwithstanding the fact that natural gas prices have surged to a 14-year high, this request is a solution in search of a problem since the area of controversy has already been administratively withdrawn. [Pols emphasis]
The CORE Act unites and improves four previously introduced bills: the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness, and Camp Hale Legacy Act; the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act; the Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act; and the Curecanti National Recreation Area Boundary Establishment Act.
The Antiquities Act grants the President power to determine how much land to protect under historic or scientific interest. Despite protests from Boebert, Buck, Lamborn and friends, President Biden could take executive action to finally make the CORE Act a reality at any time.