Obama Grabs More Land With Conservation Corps

While the nation wrestles with an unfathomable deficit, the Obama administration announced the formation of a new entity designed to instruct young people about “climate change” and empowering Native American reservations. 

The program is called the 21st Century Conservation Corps, which would be implemented through Obama’s Youth in the Great Outdoors initiative.

If you’ve never heard of Youth in the Great Outdoors, it’s a federal outfit within the Department of the Interior that was allocated nearly $40 million last year alone and is seeking $47 million for 2012.

In a recent Web telecast, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar argued that the conservation corps was an “absolute key component” in the “engagement of young people.”  He added that the Obama administration’s emphasis is on the youth because, without them, “we will not succeed” in the “conservation agenda.”

What exactly do these young people do on the taxpayer dime?  By the Interior Department’s own account, the outdoor activities include “reducing the impacts of climate change on our natural resources,” “empowering Native American communities,” “building trails,” “enhancing wildlife habitat,” studying bird migration, preserving fish hatcheries, and “improving and restoring our cultural and historic landmarks.”

Already, the Interior Department has hired 21,000 young people to assist with those efforts, and Salazar is looking to enlarge that number by 60%.

Meanwhile, Myron Ebell, who directs the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, unloaded on Interior Department’s green agenda as nothing more than a brainwashing boot camp and land power-grab.

“The Obama administration’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative is another attempt to expand public land ownership, waste taxpayer dollars, and indoctrinate young people in the belief that more government ownership and control is better for our environment,” Ebell told HUMAN EVENTS. 

He added:  “Creating a conservation corps may make people feel good that the federal government is helping to provide employment for unemployed young people, but it would do much better to provide economic conditions so that private investors could create real jobs.” 

Also participating in the Web telecast to promote the taxpayer-funded student project was Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.  He defended the need for such programs because, according to him, the administration wants “to make sure that young people in the country understand the relevance of the outdoors to their life,” adding that the federal government must guarantee that young people “feel comfortable in the outdoors.”

Ebell noted that “unfortunate effects of the program” will be a “larger constituency that supports the federal land agencies, just as the Peace Corps has created a constituency for useless federal aid programs to poor countries.” 

As is the case already, the National Park Service, U. S. Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management already control nearly 30% of the land in America , he observes.