NYT Grandee Complains about Utah Delegation’s Federal-Land Bill

The New York Times’ Andrew Rosenthal pens a screed equating Reps. Jason Chaffetz, Rob Bishop, Mia Love, and Christ Stewart with the “Bundy gang” that occupied a national wildlife refuge in Oregon earlier this year.

Writes Rosenthal:

Say what you will about Utah’s delegation to the House of Representatives, they don’t negotiate with insurrectionists, terrorists or common criminals. They waited a whole month after a group of armed fanatics seized control of federal lands in Oregon, threatening to kill federal or local law officers, before they gleefully took on the criminal gang’s demands as their own cause.


The four Republicans who represent Utah in the House introduced a bill last week that would stop the federal government from enforcing federal law on federal lands (including those designated as wildlife refuges or national parks) and turn control over to state and local law enforcement. They want to give the local folks federal money to police the federal lands, which is the cause that the Bundy gang claimed to follow when they occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.


Those thugs terrorized local residents and threatened to kill any police officer who tried to dislodge them. The standoff ended with one of the insurrectionists dead by the side of the road and more than two dozen members of the group facing criminal charges.


The argument over federal control of public lands is old. This year is the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service by Woodrow Wilson. Proponents of local control tend to make arguments about states’ rights. But there’s lots of reason to believe their real aim is to take control over decisions on oil drilling and mining, commercial exploitation and privatization.