John McCain Says Laws Protecting National Parks and Monuments Threaten National Security

Friday, May 08, 2015
Chairman John McCain (R-Arizona)--Getty Images

A bill introduced by Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona that would allow Customs and Border Protection “access to federal lands for security activities” was passed out of committee this week.

McCain and his cosponsor, Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Arizona), said in a March news release that “laws put in place to protect these lands also prevent Border Patrol agents from doing their jobs,” and the legislation, the Arizona Borderland Protection and Preservation Act (SB 750) (pdf), would “cut unnecessary red tape and enable Border Patrol agents to have access to all federally managed land in Southwest Arizona so they can perform their jobs effectively, keep our communities safe, and secure the border once and for all.”

McCain dismissed opposition to the bill within the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. “I don’t give a damn if somebody that lives in Delaware doesn’t like my efforts to secure our border so that people who live down on our border can live in an environment of peace and security that the people of Delaware can live in,” McCain said, according to Arizona Public Media.

The change would allow the Border Patrol to roam on 10 million acres of federal lands and parks in Arizona and California and even construct radio towers in areas where no development is currently allowed. Saguaro National Park, Coronado National Forest, Sonoran Desert National Monument and other sensitive areas could lose their current protections under McCain’s plan.

Some conservationists say McCain’s real agenda is to roll back longstanding protections for public lands. Randy Serraglio with the Center for Biological Diversity told E&E Publishing that “the notion that laws protecting public lands are somehow impeding border security is a fantasy cooked up by politicians who’ve been trying for many years to weaken those protections.”

Currently, the Border Patrol works with the National Park Service and Forest Service, Dan Millis, program organizer for the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter, told ThinkProgress. “Better coordination is a good thing for the environment, since land managers have the chance to share their expertise with law enforcement, and vice-versa. S.750 would undermine cooperative efforts. It doesn’t make sense for lawmakers to legislatively insist that agencies ignore each other and that Border Patrol run roughshod over cultural and environmental considerations.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Bill Would Roll Back Public Lands Protections In The Name Of National Security (by Claire Moser, ThinkProgress)

Senate Committee Wants Border Patrol Access Expanded (by Christopher Conover, Arizona Public Media)

Senate Homeland Security & Government Affairs Passes Bill To Enhance Border Security (by Brian Rogers, Prescott News)

Arizona Borderland Protection and Preservation Act


OhhSure 9 years ago
Ya, like Juan McCain wants to secure the border. Sure. I believe that.
tomj 9 years ago
Is McCain even sane? McCain is a dangerous old warmongering madman, that's a fearmonger, hatemonger and a warmonger
Ironmike 9 years ago
His father must be rolling in his grave.
Laura Legere 9 years ago
This is so the Navy can fly their radiation radio frequency weaponry 16 hours a day 260 days a year over our National Parks to test out their war toys. We are fighting this tooth and nail over our Olympic National Forest. Can you imagine that you and your friends and family are camping, hiking, bird watching, admiring the wilderness and growlier aircraft are flying over radiating and dropping oil, polluting the landscape as well as noise pollution 16 hours a day? This is madness. Our voices are being heard by the forest service and that is why McStain is attempting to pass this bill. Please lets not be silent. Go to the forest service meetings and let them know you will not allow it. When we went to a meeting with a bunch of top heads of the forest service they knew nothing about it and now they do. It makes a difference.
F16Hoser 9 years ago
Here's a thought; STFU McCain. You Low-Life Scum
Joe 9 years ago
McCain is a Ball Sack!
DDearborn 9 years ago
Hmmm Like so many things that the traitor McCain claims he does for "security" this has nothing what so ever to do with securing our borders and everything to do with extending the suspension of the Constitution and Bill of Rights beyond the 100 mile limit (already illegal because the Constitution does not grant exceptions for suspension of the Constitution at any distance from the border) Considering this would grant the border patrol the ability to operate anywhere in the US (FEDS largest land owner in country by a factor of over a ten thousand) and with that the suspension of our Bill of Rights which he swore to uphold but never has, clearly he is a far greater danger to the Republic than any potential terrorist threat. Regardless there does not exist today, nor has there ever been a "terrorist" threat which demands suspension of the Bill of Rights. Pay particular attention to the fact the he like so many other traitors in Congress never actually ensure that our physical borders. Instead they always focus on actions which in reality NEVER protect us from actual threats but ALWAYS take away more of our freedoms. McCain like his father before him is a traitor.

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