VIDEO: Rep. Cliff Stearns Wants To Sell Off Our National Parks

by Jessica Goad and Scott Keyes, cross-posted from TP Green

Rep. Cliff Steans (R-FL), a birther, one of the leaders of the Solyndra witch hunt and defender of subsidies to Big Oil companies. He told constituents at a town hall meeting Belleview, Florida, on February 25 that “we don’t need any more national parks in this country” and that we need to “actually sell off some of our national parks”:

I got attacked in a previous town meeting for not supporting another national park in this country, a 200-mile trailway.  And I told the man that we don’t need more national parks in this country, we need to actually sell off some of our national parks, and try and do what a normal family would do is — they wouldn’t ask Uncle Joe for a loan, they would sell their Cadillac, or they would take their kids out of private schools and put them into public schools to save to money instead of asking for their credit card to increase their debt ceiling.

Watch it:

Our national parks represent America’s heritage, held in trust from one generation to the next.

Despite Stearns’ idea for a national-park fire sale, the facts show that parks, monuments, and other protected places generate a steady stream of wealth for both the treasury and local businesses.  In 2010, Florida’s Everglades National Park generated 2,364 jobs and over $140 million in visitor spending, and Florida’s 11 national parks in total provided $582 million in economic benefits.  The National Park Service also reports that America’s parks overall created $31 billion and 258,000 jobs in 2010.  In addition to their economic impacts, national parks have important value in that they are available to all of us for recreation, not just the wealthy few.

This is not the first time Republican members of Congress have advocated selling off Americans’ public lands without clarifying how taxpayers would get a fair return for them.  Last fall, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) proposed selling off 3.3 million acres of the public lands that belong to all of us.  And former Rep. Richard Pombo proposed selling national parks to mining companies in 2005.

Republican presidential candidates have also recently been confused about the tangible and intangible values of our national parks and public lands.  Mitt Romney told the Reno Gazette-Journal that he doesn’t know “what the purpose is” of public lands, Rick Santorum told Idahoans that public lands should go “back to the hands” of the private sector, and Ron Paul advocated for public lands to be turned over to the states.

12 Responses to VIDEO: Rep. Cliff Stearns Wants To Sell Off Our National Parks

  1. John Tucker says:

    Like I mentioned before sterns district was eliminated in redistricting – In his desperate bit to remain on the government payroll hes latched onto a new bunch of suckers in something of a tailor made new district for him, and not a few days ago, it was announced he was under investigation for BRIBERY!

    Stearns opponent accuses congressman of bribery

    A Stearns spokesman adamantly denied the charge Wednesday and shot back that Jett himself might have broken the law by illegally recording the discussions with alleged go-betweens.

    Horne reportedly said that Stearns and House Speaker John Boehner were prepared to finalize the deal with Jett at a Stearns’ fundraiser on March 2 at the home of Jud Sapp, a prominent GOP donor from Orange Park.

    Jett said the FBI subsequently contacted him about investigating the allegations. The agency reportedly planned to wiretap his phone to record conversations with the pitchmen acting on Stearns’s behalf.

    There was one caveat, however. The FBI agents were directed by their supervisors not to record Boehner,Jett claims. Jett said he did not know why, but he didn’t mind. ( )

    Its incredible really. Speaker of the United States House of Representatives involved in such shady activity and the FBI purposely looking the other way.

  2. squidboy6 says:

    wonder what we could get for a crackpot? doesn’t have to be much money and heck we’ll pay for the shipping. Another fruitcake from the state that gave us GWB!

  3. Rob Honeycutt says:

    Ah, so Mr Steans wants to use microeconomic solutions to deal with macroeconomic problems. [facepalm]

  4. Chris says:

    It makes sense to sell off the Everglades. As the ocean rises, the Everglades will disappear, so might as well get top dollar for it now.

  5. Brooks Bridges says:

    Yeah, and Glacier National Park will lose its glaciers soon and all the western parks will lose their trees to the beetles so just keep the ones that are predominately rock.

    A little gallows humor, sigh.

  6. M Tucker says:

    From A Book-Lover’s Holiday in the Open, 1916 by Theodore Roosevelt

    “By far the most important, of course, are the public preserves. These by their very existence afford a certain measure of the extent to which democratic government can justify itself. If in a given community unchecked popular rule means unlimited waste and destruction of the natural resources ­soil, fertility, water-power, forests, game, wild-life generally ­which by right belong as much to subsequent generations as to the present generation, then it is sure proof that the present generation is not yet really fit for self-control, that it is not yet really fit to exercise the high and responsible privilege of a rule which shall be both by the people and for the people. The term “for the people” must always include the people unborn as well as the people now alive, or the democratic ideal is not realized.”

    TR goes on to say elsewhere in the book, probably thinking of people just like Steans,

    “Defenders of the short-sighted men who in their greed and selfishness will, if permitted, rob our country of half its charm by their reckless extermination of all useful and beautiful wild things sometimes seek to champion them by saying the ‘the game belongs to the people.’ So it does; and not merely to the people now alive, but to the unborn people. The ‘greatest good for the greatest number’ applies to the number within the womb of time, compared to which those now alive form but an insignificant fraction. Our duty to the whole, including the unborn generations, bids us restrain an unprincipled present-day minority from wasting the heritage of these unborn generations. The movement for the conservation of wild life and the larger movement for the conservation of all our natural resources are essentially democratic in spirit, purpose, and method.”

    I am tempted to say, “send Steans and his cronies a copy of TR’s book,” but these freaks do not read, they are not interested in learning anything new, they do not spend time in the wilderness, they only care about money and power, they measure success by the amount of pollution they create. If you send a fool to congress he will come up with foolish and destructive laws.

  7. Raul M. says:

    I think he compared the National parks to some locals’
    Private property.
    But maybe not a good comparison for another reason-
    usually the cadallic is a larger part of the locals’ inventory of assets and expenditures.
    Certain there are valid opinions as to the value to future generations and the trust that the public sees in our present leaders.

  8. Alan E. says:

    On top of the federal employees that are in the park, it’s important to remember that there are nonprofits that work to support those lands, there are concessions serving people food, and there are the surrounding communities that feed off the tourism.

  9. Raul M. says:

    Teddy lived and served in a time when the wealthy had seemingly unlimited growth potential. the servants (every one else) bowed their heads, needs and opinions; maybe that is the part that is so elusive now with modern communications.

  10. John McCormick says:

    Can we outlive these rethugs or have they done so much damaged to the public’s psyche towards government that young Americans will tune out on politics?

  11. shannon parker says:

    Why is it that so many elected Republicans seem ignorant of the differences between household finances and Governmental? Are they pretending to this ignorance for political/partisan reasons? Or are they really so ignorant that they should not be allowed to hold public office?

  12. Mike Wells says:

    You way, WAY underestimate the Utah attack on public lands here… This is worthy of its own story. Not only is it not just Chaffetz calling for this, but it is something they’re serious about.

    The Utah Legislature likes to wisely spend its sessions making ‘message bills'(As in ‘Let’s send a message to those Socialists in Washington’), and one of the biggest message bills is this public lands thing. One of the ideas was to declare Eminent Domain, buy the land, and then sell it to the oil and gas companies, claiming that it is all ‘for education funding’, and hoping nobody will figure out that by the time the lawsuits are over, the land is bought, and the land is blighted, the kids in school right now will have their own kids in school, maybe their grandkids, IF it even works.

    Lately, it seems that they’ve skipped the Eminent Domain niceties and plan to just seize the land if they can. As they keep telling us, we ALL want to see oil and gas derricks at the entrance to Bryce National Park, so I must just not yet be properly acclimated to Utah yet.