If Republicans are not careful, they will hand radical environmentalists all the power they need to stop economic development and production for decades to come. With everyone focused on the budget battle and ObamaCare, this week, the House will consider an amendment offered by liberal Rep. Ben R. Lujan (D-NM) that would have a devastating impact on jobs and economic growth for decades to come.
Rep. Lujan is proposing to offer an amendment to bipartisan land-swap legislation that would allow the Secretary of Interior to stop economic production on land should he or she determine it is a Native American “cultural” site. Federal law protects Native American “sacred” sites but by adding the word “cultural” to the law, he radically expands the amount of land that will be covered. The Lujan amendment reads “the Federal land to be conveyed may not include any Native American sacred or cultural site, whether surface or subsurface.” What is a cultural site you ask? The amendment does not define the term but a group lobbying on its behalf described it as anywhere Native Americans have gathered and prayed. Which could be, well, everywhere.
The land-swap legislation in question is 20 miles from the nearest reservation. The Forest Service report on the land found there were no sacred sites. But the Lujan amendment would stop the project in its tracks and will serve as a model for the environmentalists seeking to stop new mining projects, new road construction and even the Keystone Pipeline. If the Lujan amendment can pass a Republican House, it will lock in a majority support for this theory and it will be applied again and again.
The bottom line is clear — the Lujan Amendment is precedent setting. No one person should have to be authorized to exercise the power of government in such an arbitrary and capricious manner. If approved this tactic will be used to stop everything from housing projects to power plants opposed by radical activists. And with the Keystone pipeline still in contention, it’s easy to see where this tactic will be used next. No Republican in their right mind should empower the Secretary of Interior, or any one person, to have this power. Yet there are some that have climbed onboard the bandwagon not recognizing the potential impact of the amendment. These guys need a wake up call from voters back home before it’s too late.