Some of my favorite childhood memories were family road trips (at least when I wasn’t fighting with my brother). We visited the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Glacier National Monument. We spent many weekends in Rocky Mountain National Park. If Ron Paul has his way, these treasured National Parks will be gone, or at least sold to the highest bidder.
In a Nevada campaign stop, Paul addressed the issue of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump, an idea that’s almost universally disliked in Nevada and for good and pretty obvious reason.
From Think Progress:
Paul: I want as much federal land to be turned over to the state as possible—the regulatory approach to tell people how to do and what to say. So I was essentially other than the other members of Congress from this state — I very early on opposed the dumping of nuclear waste in Nevada, so I want the state to make a decision—
Questioner: This plan pertains to using ATVs and things like that on federal land.
Paul: Well, I’d be opposed to that. I don’t want the federal government dictating to Nevada, period. I’d rather see the land owned and controlled by the states.
Ron Paul is really great at identifying problems within the government and I’m sure that that’s a lot of his appeal. Unfortunately, his perennial meme of handing everything off to the states or worse, to the private sector, solves nothing. It’s like telling someone with a sprained arm that you’re going to amputate to get rid of the problem.
Yucca Mountain is a problem and if I lived in Nevada, I’d be livid, but the issue that needs to be addressed is bigger than just one piece of land…what do we do with nuclear waste, a byproduct of an industry that Paul is very much in support of.
Not all parcels of public land are nuclear waste dumps…far from it. Many are National Forests and National Parks. Not only are they national treasures, they are incredible tourism draws. On an annual basis, National Parks provide about $125 million in direct revenue through entrance fees and the like. A good portion of that comes from international tourists. The state of Utah estimates that 40% of its National Park visitors are from other countries. It also makes the claim that 78% of international visitors call National Parks a destination while visiting the US. These same tourists stay in hotels, shop in local stores and eat at local restaurants. So, on top of the direct revenue, there is a massive financial boost to surrounding areas. In 2009 alone, Yellowstone alone added over 5,000 jobs and over $300 million to the local economy. The Grand Canyon provided even more.
Paul advocates giving them back to the states and while that might seem like a great idea, the Federal Government is doing a fine job of managing the Parks Service and boosting the local economies. These lands are National treasures and should be treated as such.
Even more frightening is that Paul advocates selling the lands off. He uses his home state of Texas as the model, where he says, “private owners” have “developed all the natural resources.” Paul went on to say “how wonderful it would be if land will be or should be returned to the states and then for the best parts sold off to private owners.”
Great, so we should drill for oil in Yellowstone, frack for natural gas in the Shenandoah National Parks or mine Mt. Rushmore? And who will that benefit the most? Exactly, the 1% and their corporations. So much for the “national” in “National Treasure.”
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