The Obama administration’s retaliatory actions against Russia on Thursday, for their involvement in meddling in the presidential election, provided perfect cover for ABC to ignore another controversial action. “President Obama has made yet another move trying to cement his legacy as an environmentalist,” announced Fox News’ Shannon Bream on Special Report. In a unilateral move Wednesday, President Barack Obama designated two new massive national monuments in two western states.
“With a designation of two huge western land masses as new national monuments, President Obama has offered a parting gift to environmentalists and a parting shot at political rivals,” reported Fox News Correspondent Doug McKelway. Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz told McKelway that the land grab in his state was 1.35 million acres, “The size is bigger than the state of Delaware,” he exclaimed.
The land seized by the federal government in Utah will be known as Bears Ears National Monument, while the 300,000 acres taken in Nevada will called Gold Butte National Monument. According to McKelway, “The White House says the designation will protect, quote, sacred sites, spectacular scenery, and important and cultural resources in the desert landscapes.’”
But as liberals cheer on the White House, state legislators in Utah resent the federal government’s heavy hand claiming their land. Utah Governor Gary Herbert explained that it felt like a punishment because the state was so opposed to it. “It's not just Utah’s governor, but that state's entire congressional delegation and all local elected officials who oppose the designation,” McKelway noted. The Utah legislature counts 17 Democrats among its ranks, making the opposition bipartisan.
In a tweet Wednesday, the White House attempted to do a victory lap and show off for Obama’s supporters. But their plan went awry when it was pointed out that the image they tweeted was not of either of the monuments, but of Utah’s Arches National Park instead. “It prompted Utah Senator Orin Hatch to tweet back, If you’re going to take 1.3 million acres of Utah land, at least use the right photo,’” McKelway read.
Some see the president’s actions as an attempt to “bind the hands” of President-elect Donald Trump because the move closes off the sites to any form drilling or development. And it appears that ABC might be playing along since they made no time to report the news between Wednesday night and Thursday night. Their blind eye to Obama’s land grab is perfect example of favoritism to their president.
In contrast, both CBS and NBC touched on the topic during their morning shows on Thursday.
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December 29, 2016
6:24:53 PM Eastern
SHANNON BREAM: President Obama has made yet another move trying to cement his legacy as an environmentalist. But some are decrying the president’s actions believing the steps within days of leaving office show he is trying to bind the hands of President-elect Trump. Correspondent Doug McKelway reports tonight on the controversy over the president's legacy grab.
[Cuts to video]
DOUG MCKELWAY: With a designation of two huge western land masses as new national monuments, President Obama has offered a parting gift to environmentalists and a parting shot at political rivals.
JASON CHAFFETZ: It's devastating. Such an arrogant land grab. The size is bigger than the state of Delaware. And the president just unilaterally came in and grabbed more than 1.35 million acres.
MCKELWAY: That 1.35 million acres in Utah will now be called the Bears Ears National Monument. The second area, in Nevada, will become the Gold Butte National Monument spanning 300,000 acres. The White House says the designation will protect, quote, “sacred sites, spectacular scenery, and important and cultural resources in the desert landscapes.”
Senate leader Harry Reid said of the Nevada designation, quote, “I was overjoyed to hear the news today.” Utah's governor was not.
GARY HERBERT: How else do you look at it in Utah other than a punishment to the people of Utah when we were so overwhelmingly opposed to it?
MCKELWAY: It's not just Utah’s governor, but that state's entire congressional delegation and all local elected officials who oppose the designation. The administration claims many Native Americans support the move.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: There have been some instances where some of the sacred things or sacred sites were desecrated and destroyed.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We are our own government. And we have the right to speak over our ancestral lands.
MCKELWAY: But support from Native Americans is deeply disputed.
CHAFFETZ: When I met with the president of the Navajo Nation about a year and a half ago, he didn't know where Bears Ears was.
MCKELWAY: Critics half-jokingly contend neither does the president. In a tweet, touting the designation the White House used the wrong picture of Arches National Park. It prompted Utah Senator Orin Hatch to tweet back, “If you’re going to take 1.3 million acres of Utah land, at least use the right photo.”
[Cuts back to live]
As with hundreds of other unilateral moves by the present administration, the new congress hopes to enlist the support of the new president to undo this one. Shannon, back to you.
BREAM: Thank you, Doug.