Coburn: Expanding park service a ‘disastrous idea’

Sean Lengell
The Washington Examiner

A federal lands package tucked into Congress’ annual defense policy bill has sparked a larger debate over the government’s role as a landlord.

The package, which was approved with broad bipartisan support Friday as part of the 2015 Defense Authorization Bill, designates 250,000 acres of new federal wilderness, in addition to 15 new national park units or expansions and three new wild and scenic river designations.

The provisions also include transferring management of a 140-square-mile national preserve in northern New Mexico to the National Park Service and making a land swap in Arizona that would clear the way for a disputed copper mine.

The provisions were pushed through by senators from Western states, where the federal government owns huge swaths of land, saying the package will help protect more than 1 million acres of landscapes, watersheds and historic sites…

…But Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., led a failed charge against the dozens of public lands provisions in the bill, saying it was wrong to create new parks when the National Park Service doesn’t have the resources to properly care for the ones already under its care…

…“We’re taking care of the politicians, but are we taking care of the parks?” Coburn said. “Are we doing what is in the best long-term interest of preserving the pristine, unique aspects of our country?”



Read the complete article at The Washington Examiner.



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