Whose Land Is It Anyway?
U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton took steps yesterday that could lead to commercial development in some of the national monuments designated by former President Clinton. She sent letters to state and local officials to get their feedback on how the lands should be managed and whether the boundaries of the monuments should be adjusted. Norton claims that the Clinton administration failed to get local input before setting aside the lands. Meanwhile, the House Resources Committee voted unanimously yesterday to change the status of land protected by Clinton in Idaho from a monument to a preserve to allow hunting to continue. And a recent report by the U.S. Geological Survey, prepared at the request of House Republicans, identified six of the monuments designated by Clinton as areas that might contain large amounts of oil, gas, or coal.