The lands upon which Noel’s constituents live and work have been the target of broad and destructive federal land seizures, including Clinton’s 1.7 million acre Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument.
Mike Noel is the State Representative from Utah’s largest geographic district, 73, which occupies a vast section of the state along Arizona’s northern border. The lands upon which Noel’s constituents live and work have been the target of broad and destructive federal land seizures, including Clinton’s 1.7 million acre Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument. In 1996, Clinton planned and implemented this massive takeover in southern-central Utah with little input from the public, and zero consideration of how a ‘protected’ monument imposed on some of Utah’s richest coal deposits and grazing lands would crush existing economies. Now, the Obama Administration–under pressure from the outdoor recreation industry and environmentalist radicals–is eyeing another land grab of 1.9 million acres in the Bears Ears region of Noel’s district.
Noel lives in Kanab, an small town where mining, ranching, and movie-making have been historic economic drivers. But Noel is a big voice in all of Utah, and is known throughout the West for his fierce defense of local rights against increasingly autocratic, and aggressive federal land and resource agencies. On November 29, Fox 13 in Salt Lake City reported that Noel was submitting paperwork to become head of the Bureau of Land Management, a position now occupied by former Harry Reid staffer and uber-enviro, Neil Kornze.
Rural America is largely to credit for President-elect Trump’s victory over urban progressive Hillary Clinton, and as the transition charges full-speed ahead, Western land and resource issues are especially relevant. This is crucial in the consideration of Mike Noel for BLM chief, since his experience runs the gamut, from working for the land agency, to more recently, defending citizens and local leaders from its overreaching and punitive tactics.
Mike Noel is worth consideration for a number of reasons:
- He is a former employee of the Bureau of Land Management, and understands the agency, its original mission and legal parameters, and will know how to purge the disconnected, bureaucratic rot which, under the direction of Kornze, has made it unresponsive and sometimes dangerous.
- Noel’s key committee assignments and tremendous legislative experience have given him intimate knowledge of the issues related to federal overreach, ineffective policies within the BLM, and the often volatile conflicts between its agents and citizens in Western states.
- Like President-elect Trump, Noel is a fighter, often taking controversial positions and drawing heavy fire from left-wing media. He has supported and defended citizens and local leaders from aggressive federal agencies, including the BLM, where others have shrunk away from the resulting, relentless negative press coverage.
- Noel opposes nationalization of law enforcement. The BLM and other federal land and resource agencies have recently become more militarized, with armed rangers and para-military divisions called to confront citizens, as was witnessed in the Bundy Ranch incident in 2014. He believes BLM, U.S. Forest Service, Fish & Wildlife, and others should not be militarized and must defer to local law-enforcement officials in instances where arrest and/or punishment is warranted in public lands conflicts.
- Noel supports local and state stewardship of the vast public lands now managed by federal agencies in the West. Although the Left hates the idea that Western states should control the public lands within their own boundaries, Americans in general are increasingly persuaded that local control of lands, resources, waters, brings about better policy, with better environmental and economic outcomes.
- Mike Noel understands the underlying resentment ranchers, landowners, developers, and all rural folks in the West, have for federal agencies, run out of Washington D.C., whose policies are formulated by urban bureaucrats unacquainted with life on the ground.
- Consider this: Sally Jewell, Obama’s Interior Secretary is a former corporate bigwig for R.E.I. She may know all about hiking boots and backpacks, but she knows nothing about ranching or the needs of rural economies. Neil Kornze, Obama’s BLM head is a former Harry Reid staffer, a political operative who knows politics, but knows nothing about water rights, grazing allotments, mineral extraction, domestic energy development, or the history of Western land laws, all of which are critical to sound land stewardship. Both Jewell and Kornze are hostage to hysteria-driven environmentalist ideologies based on disproven theories about human/environment interactions. Great candidates for BLM head and related positions, such as Mike Noel, are guided by the scientific application of sound lands policy, and will govern according to what actually benefits the environment and its human inhabitants.
The election of Donald Trump is a signal to inefficient, overreaching, and chronically over-budget land and resources agencies that big changes are coming. Free Range Report is optimistic that whomever takes the job, from which Neil Kornze is soon to be jettisoned, will restore BLM and its sister agencies to their proper roles, and end contentions in the West over who truly has stewardship over the land.