At the Western Republican Leadership Conference, a GOP summit held after the CNN-Las Vegas presidential debate, ThinkProgress spoke to a set of lawmakers with a history of targeting public lands for privatization. However, Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) bucked the trend, telling us that she actually has never heard of any “single American” from any party that has called for developing the National Parks.
Lummis seems to be ignoring her own colleague, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who called for drilling for oil in the Everglades. But Lummis, for whatever reason, claimed that such ideas were completely foreign and unheard of to her:
LUMMIS: I don’t know a single American — Republican, Democrat, Independent, or other — who wants to develop our National Parks. They’re set aside for the enjoyment of the people of this country. And everybody wants to see that unique resource protected.
KEYES: Including the Everglades, for instance?
LUMMIS: The parts that are National Parks in the Everglades, absolutely.
Its not only Bachmann. Rep. Rick Berg (R-ND), while campaigning for Congress last year, called for drilling for oil underneath North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park and other federal lands as a scheme to pay for Social Security. Additionally, dozens of Republicans in Congress, including Lummis herself, have cosponsored bills that would severely limit the president’s authority to designate new national monuments. Many of the national parks that Lummis defends so easily started out as national monuments, including Grand Canyon National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, and Zion National Park. Just yesterday President Obama designated his first national monument at Fort Monroe, a historic Civil War site in Virginia.