Author Topic: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.  (Read 2060 times)

farmecologist

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GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« on: February 01, 2017, 08:30:14 AM »
Saw this :

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/31/public-lands-sell-congress-bureau-management-chaffetz

A new proposal to 'dispose of' federal lands.  This looks to me like a blatant land grab.

As a land conservation proponent, this really alarms me.  I was recently in the area where some of these lands are due to be 'disposed' ( Escalate and the 'bears ears' area ).  It would be a dammed shame.  These are some of the most beautiful lands in the country..with many amazing ancient ruins, etc....

What do you all think of this? I think we are seeing a 'be careful what you wish for' scenario forming here.

deadlymonkey

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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2017, 08:46:34 AM »
Horrible plan, it is a straight land grab.  Sell irreplaceable assets for pennies to people who want to strip out all the value and leave nothing in their wake.

farmecologist

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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2017, 09:08:45 AM »
It should be noted that they have been trying to do something like this for a long time...but only now seem to have the 'power' to do so. 

Is it even constitutional to do this?  So much for these lands belonging to 'all of us'.  I'm sure it will eventually be met with a lawsuit.  However, I don't like the way the judicial branch is going either!

Poundwise

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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2017, 09:36:34 AM »
Yes-- THIS is the kind of thing that is being hidden behind the smokescreen. I will also point out that this week they are trying to gut the Cardin-Lugar anti-corruption law.
"Passed in 2010, it requires oil and mining companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges to publish the payments they make to the United States and governments around the world for access to natural resources."

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/lawmaker-news/317211-is-this-how-congress-fights-corruption

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RosieTR

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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2017, 12:44:00 PM »
I saw that and notified a couple of my friends who do a lot of land-use work (sit on board, etc). My county is on there :-(

For the life of me, I cannot understand the impulse to "dispose" of federal public land to private parties. Much of federal land is leased to private parties for a wide variety of economically lucrative activities, including timber harvest, oil and natural gas drilling, grazing livestock, and downhill ski resorts. Other uses are ones people traditionally on both the right and the left enjoy: hunting, fishing and off-roading, camping, hiking and birding. Still others are important for future concerns, including historical sites, wildlife habitat, and watershed preservation. Finally, our more famous National Parks generate a LOT of interest from international tourists, leading to additional economic benefits and positive feelings toward the US. Many of these areas are things that cannot ever be replaced if lost, and selling the land rather than leasing it is a one-time profit rather than an income stream.

Sockigal

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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2017, 01:02:21 PM »
Yikes! I'm not sure how congress can pass laws that 90% of the citizens do not agree with. Almost all American's believe that our Federal lands should be protected.

farmecologist

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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2017, 01:14:47 PM »
Yikes! I'm not sure how congress can pass laws that 90% of the citizens do not agree with. Almost all American's believe that our Federal lands should be protected.

Like I mentioned...this is certainly turning out to be a "be careful what you wish for" scenario.  I'll be willing to wager that many who voted for Trump were not thinking about things like this at the time.

There are small constituencies, usually in the states where the federal lands reside, that work tirelessly to attempt to get the feds to turn the land over to the state.  They feel that the state can do a 'better job' of managing the land.  However, when you dig deeper you usually find out that 'managing the land better' means mining, development, etc....due to fewer regulations at the state level.

Unique User

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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2017, 01:37:13 PM »
Amazingly, the new Dept of the Interior Ryan Zinke "broke with most Republicans on the issue of transfers of federal lands to the states, calling such proposals "extreme" and voting against them. In July 2016, Zinke withdrew as a delegate to the Republican nominating convention in protest of a plank in the party's draft platform which would require that "certain" public lands be transferred to state control. Zinke said that he endorses "better management of federal land" rather than transfer".  Not sure how reliable Wikipedia is, but other sites state he is against selling federal lands.  He was just confirmed yesterday, so hopefully he'll try to stop it??

farmecologist

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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2017, 01:48:09 PM »
Amazingly, the new Dept of the Interior Ryan Zinke "broke with most Republicans on the issue of transfers of federal lands to the states, calling such proposals "extreme" and voting against them. In July 2016, Zinke withdrew as a delegate to the Republican nominating convention in protest of a plank in the party's draft platform which would require that "certain" public lands be transferred to state control. Zinke said that he endorses "better management of federal land" rather than transfer".  Not sure how reliable Wikipedia is, but other sites state he is against selling federal lands.  He was just confirmed yesterday, so hopefully he'll try to stop it??

I read that too...I'm hoping this bill is a smokescreen to test out the waters, so to speak.  The bill was introduced by Jason Chaffetz, a Utah republican, who has been wanting this for quite some time.  He says these parcels have 'no public use'.  Hopefully Zinke puts a stop to it.


I also posted the following on another thread but thought it might be relevant here :

I just did a quick search on H.R. 621 and found this :

https://onyourownadventures.com/hunttalk/showthread.php?273527-Selling-Public-LandHR-621-and-622-Do-We-All-Agree-that-Jason-Chaffetz-is-a-Coward

Some very interesting discussion from sportsmen (hunters) regarding this proposal.  Lets just say they are not in favor of it.  And these are some very, very conservative people.  A lot of the discussion involves what 'use by the public' means and who gets to make that decision. 

And here is an article that list some of the lands up for 'disposal' :

http://www.mensjournal.com/adventure/articles/public-land-for-sale-here-are-some-of-the-33-million-acres-being-eyed-for-disposal-w463372

Sure looks like they have a public use to me!  Like I mentioned...looks the bill is a blatant land grab attempt by Utah republicans that are not happy with the amount of public lands that exist in their state.


FireHiker

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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2017, 04:45:26 PM »
I am appalled. I've been concerned about this (and all environmental issues) since the primaries.

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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2017, 05:38:18 PM »


People who were around in the 70's may remember the PSA with the Native American crying a single, powerful tear over the destruction of his country due to pollution, etc.
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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2017, 07:40:40 PM »
Amazingly, the new Dept of the Interior Ryan Zinke "broke with most Republicans on the issue of transfers of federal lands to the states, calling such proposals "extreme" and voting against them. In July 2016, Zinke withdrew as a delegate to the Republican nominating convention in protest of a plank in the party's draft platform which would require that "certain" public lands be transferred to state control. Zinke said that he endorses "better management of federal land" rather than transfer".  Not sure how reliable Wikipedia is, but other sites state he is against selling federal lands.  He was just confirmed yesterday, so hopefully he'll try to stop it??
Checks and balances. And he has a history of standing up for what he believes in. Might be an interesting fight inside of the republican administration.
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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2017, 08:16:28 PM »
How far has this bill gotten, is it something legitimate yet, or something that will quietly die / not gotten voted on?
I don't want to dismiss it out of hand, I want to know if it's at the point where I start bugging my local representatives like hell to do something about killing it.

See also: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/small-daily-acts-of-political-resistance/
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RosieTR

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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2017, 08:53:42 PM »
How far has this bill gotten, is it something legitimate yet, or something that will quietly die / not gotten voted on?
I don't want to dismiss it out of hand, I want to know if it's at the point where I start bugging my local representatives like hell to do something about killing it.

See also: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/small-daily-acts-of-political-resistance/

It's in the House, so you should call your one rep (make sure it's the correct one if you haven't got it already programmed in your phone). It doesn't hurt to let them know you are paying attention and what your position is. The earlier it's stopped, the better. I think this has just been "introduced" meaning the House would vote, then the Senate would have to vote, then reconciliation would have to happen, then it would go to be signed. At any of those points it could be stopped or changed. I'll be calling tomorrow, though my rep is Dem and I'm sure coming from this state, not for this kind of shizznazz. I'm kind of surprised, because folks in the West often *really* like their public land. Lots of hikers, climbers, etc.

Metric Mouse

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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2017, 09:51:44 PM »
How far has this bill gotten, is it something legitimate yet, or something that will quietly die / not gotten voted on?
I don't want to dismiss it out of hand, I want to know if it's at the point where I start bugging my local representatives like hell to do something about killing it.

See also: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/small-daily-acts-of-political-resistance/

It's in the House, so you should call your one rep (make sure it's the correct one if you haven't got it already programmed in your phone). It doesn't hurt to let them know you are paying attention and what your position is. The earlier it's stopped, the better. I think this has just been "introduced" meaning the House would vote, then the Senate would have to vote, then reconciliation would have to happen, then it would go to be signed. At any of those points it could be stopped or changed. I'll be calling tomorrow, though my rep is Dem and I'm sure coming from this state, not for this kind of shizznazz. I'm kind of surprised, because folks in the West often *really* like their public land. Lots of hikers, climbers, etc.

I hunt and camp on quite a bit of State owned land. It's great.  If one's state can be trusted to protect it, it's probably ok if it's transferred. If one cannot trust their state to keep it open for the uses they wish, then it's probably better to oppose such a rule.
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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2017, 11:34:59 PM »
I saw that and notified a couple of my friends who do a lot of land-use work (sit on board, etc). My county is on there :-(

For the life of me, I cannot understand the impulse to "dispose" of federal public land to private parties. Much of federal land is leased to private parties for a wide variety of economically lucrative activities, including timber harvest, oil and natural gas drilling, grazing livestock, and downhill ski resorts. Other uses are ones people traditionally on both the right and the left enjoy: hunting, fishing and off-roading, camping, hiking and birding. Still others are important for future concerns, including historical sites, wildlife habitat, and watershed preservation. Finally, our more famous National Parks generate a LOT of interest from international tourists, leading to additional economic benefits and positive feelings toward the US. Many of these areas are things that cannot ever be replaced if lost, and selling the land rather than leasing it is a one-time profit rather than an income stream.

It's called cronyism. Simple as that really. Why have private enterprise be a leaseholder to use it for public benefit, when you can sell it to your mates for a buck, and then they can charge the rest of you mugs an arm and a leg for access?

As long as the public is the landowner there can be a lot more restrictions put in place in the public interest. Soon as it is in private hands, watch the new owners put up the fences and defend it (probably with big guns too).

zoltani

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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2017, 11:02:30 AM »
How far has this bill gotten, is it something legitimate yet, or something that will quietly die / not gotten voted on?
I don't want to dismiss it out of hand, I want to know if it's at the point where I start bugging my local representatives like hell to do something about killing it.

See also: http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/small-daily-acts-of-political-resistance/

It's in the House, so you should call your one rep (make sure it's the correct one if you haven't got it already programmed in your phone). It doesn't hurt to let them know you are paying attention and what your position is. The earlier it's stopped, the better. I think this has just been "introduced" meaning the House would vote, then the Senate would have to vote, then reconciliation would have to happen, then it would go to be signed. At any of those points it could be stopped or changed. I'll be calling tomorrow, though my rep is Dem and I'm sure coming from this state, not for this kind of shizznazz. I'm kind of surprised, because folks in the West often *really* like their public land. Lots of hikers, climbers, etc.

I hunt and camp on quite a bit of State owned land. It's great.  If one's state can be trusted to protect it, it's probably ok if it's transferred. If one cannot trust their state to keep it open for the uses they wish, then it's probably better to oppose such a rule.

Many states have trouble funding their state parks and recreational lands. How will they come up with the money to pay for additional land? States that struggle with this will likely sell off land to the highest bidder. 
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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2017, 11:14:42 AM »
I heard the hunters got out in force to oppose this.  Jason Chaffetz posted this on twitter today. 

jasoninthehouse - I am withdrawing HR 621. I'm a proud gun owner, hunter and love our public lands. The bill would have disposed of small parcels of lands Pres. Clinton identified as serving no public purpose but groups I support and care about fear it sends the wrong message. The bill was originally introduced several years ago. I look forward to working with you. I hear you and HR 621 dies tomorrow. #keepitpublic #tbt

jeninco

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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2017, 11:16:06 AM »
After a huge (and very predictable) pushback from hunters, fisher-folks, and conservationists, Chaffetz pulled the bill: http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/317514-gop-rep-pulls-bill-to-sell-federal-land .

Public outcry sometimes works! Especially when it's --I dunno, is "bipartisan" the right word to use here?
(Zoltan beat me to it, but... anyhow.)

farmecologist

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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2017, 11:18:40 AM »
After a huge (and very predictable) pushback from hunters, fisher-folks, and conservationists, Chaffetz pulled the bill: http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/317514-gop-rep-pulls-bill-to-sell-federal-land .

Public outcry sometimes works! Especially when it's --I dunno, is "bipartisan" the right word to use here?
(Zoltan beat me to it, but... anyhow.)

Awesome!  Yep, I was hoping the outcry from sportsmen would help.  Looks like it did.  And yes, it was a "bipartisan" outcry.  Land conservation is one of the few areas where there is overwhelming bipartisan support.





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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2017, 12:04:49 PM »
After a huge (and very predictable) pushback from hunters, fisher-folks, and conservationists, Chaffetz pulled the bill: http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/317514-gop-rep-pulls-bill-to-sell-federal-land .

Public outcry sometimes works! Especially when it's --I dunno, is "bipartisan" the right word to use here?
(Zoltan beat me to it, but... anyhow.)
Awesome!
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hoping2retire35

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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2017, 12:39:17 PM »
In general I would be infavor of this, but it would depend on the way it is implemented.

edit; oh well, at least there was some discussion. Maybe if there is more thought put into it, next time a better solution would happen.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2017, 12:41:16 PM by hoping2retire35 »

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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #22 on: February 03, 2017, 03:55:18 PM »
Don't worry, now he's just trying to gut the administration of the land by "returning law enforcement to local control" See HR 622.
http://chaffetz.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=788

Many (definitely not all) of the western sheriffs are anti-federal, so could be somewhat discretionary in how and what they enforce.

Among the best ongoing coverage I've seen of these issues has been on High Country News:
http://www.hcn.org/topics/public-lands

A good source for specific actions and alerts is the Wyoming Sportsmen for Public Lands facebook group.
https://www.facebook.com/WyomingSportsmenForFederalLands/?hc_ref=SEARCH

zoltani

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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #23 on: February 03, 2017, 03:58:12 PM »
In general I would be infavor of this, but it would depend on the way it is implemented.

edit; oh well, at least there was some discussion. Maybe if there is more thought put into it, next time a better solution would happen.

Why would you be in favor of this? You like having access to my and your land taken away?
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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2017, 04:03:56 PM »
In general I would be infavor of this, but it would depend on the way it is implemented.

edit; oh well, at least there was some discussion. Maybe if there is more thought put into it, next time a better solution would happen.

Why would you be in favor of this? You like having access to my and your land taken away?
Not taken away, just put under the control of the state rahter than the Federal government.  If the State does a better job managing and using it for the citizens than the federal government does it could be a net benefit for many. Not all states would do this, possibly.  Checks and balances. These were not famous national parks being shut down; they were low use lands identified by the Clinton administration that were not valuable to the Federal Government.
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zoltani

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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #25 on: February 03, 2017, 04:25:18 PM »
In general I would be infavor of this, but it would depend on the way it is implemented.

edit; oh well, at least there was some discussion. Maybe if there is more thought put into it, next time a better solution would happen.

Why would you be in favor of this? You like having access to my and your land taken away?
Not taken away, just put under the control of the state rahter than the Federal government.  If the State does a better job managing and using it for the citizens than the federal government does it could be a net benefit for many. Not all states would do this, possibly.  Checks and balances. These were not famous national parks being shut down; they were low use lands identified by the Clinton administration that were not valuable to the Federal Government.

Is there some kind of precedent that the states could actually manage the land better than the feds? Where would the funds come from?



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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #26 on: February 03, 2017, 04:26:42 PM »
In general I would be infavor of this, but it would depend on the way it is implemented.

edit; oh well, at least there was some discussion. Maybe if there is more thought put into it, next time a better solution would happen.

Why would you be in favor of this? You like having access to my and your land taken away?
Not taken away, just put under the control of the state rahter than the Federal government.  If the State does a better job managing and using it for the citizens than the federal government does it could be a net benefit for many. Not all states would do this, possibly.  Checks and balances. These were not famous national parks being shut down; they were low use lands identified by the Clinton administration that were not valuable to the Federal Government.

I can understand the appeal of the desire to have local control of these federal lands. In some ways it makes intuitive sense. However, the reality is:
that taking over management of these lands is simply financially infeasible for many local jurisdictions, which could lead to selling lands to stay in the black.
It will lead to very heterogeneous regulation of the lands.
The backers of lobbying groups like the American Lands Council are typically resource extraction organizations and companies (name drop example: Koch). This is a way to get around federal permitting processes to make extraction easier.

There is a lot of information out there to get educated on. Here area  few places to get started.
http://www.hcn.org/issues/48.12/battles-over-whether-to-support-the-american-lands-council-rage-on-county-by-county

See also Sagebrush Rebellion, etc.

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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #27 on: February 03, 2017, 09:45:42 PM »
In general I would be infavor of this, but it would depend on the way it is implemented.

edit; oh well, at least there was some discussion. Maybe if there is more thought put into it, next time a better solution would happen.

Why would you be in favor of this? You like having access to my and your land taken away?
Not taken away, just put under the control of the state rahter than the Federal government.  If the State does a better job managing and using it for the citizens than the federal government does it could be a net benefit for many. Not all states would do this, possibly.  Checks and balances. These were not famous national parks being shut down; they were low use lands identified by the Clinton administration that were not valuable to the Federal Government.

Is there some kind of precedent that the states could actually manage the land better than the feds? Where would the funds come from?
Not that I'm aware of. I'm not aware of any precedent that these particular lands would be better managed by the Feds either; they do a great job in my opinion with national parks and monuments, but I don't have any information on these "marginal " areas that are undeveloped, specifically.
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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #28 on: February 04, 2017, 06:03:30 AM »
In general I would be infavor of this, but it would depend on the way it is implemented.

edit; oh well, at least there was some discussion. Maybe if there is more thought put into it, next time a better solution would happen.

Why would you be in favor of this? You like having access to my and your land taken away?
Not taken away, just put under the control of the state rahter than the Federal government.  If the State does a better job managing and using it for the citizens than the federal government does it could be a net benefit for many. Not all states would do this, possibly.  Checks and balances. These were not famous national parks being shut down; they were low use lands identified by the Clinton administration that were not valuable to the Federal Government.

Is there some kind of precedent that the states could actually manage the land better than the feds? Where would the funds come from?
Not that I'm aware of. I'm not aware of any precedent that these particular lands would be better managed by the Feds either; they do a great job in my opinion with national parks and monuments, but I don't have any information on these "marginal " areas that are undeveloped, specifically.

I lived next door to one of the areas under consideration for years, the Uncompahgre National Forest.  That area has very minimal management, mostly just maintaining the dirt roads in the spring after the snow melts and overseeing recreation, firewood gathering and grazing (LOTS of cows in those areas).  If a large tree fell over a trail, sometime the forest service would take it out, but only if it truly blocked the trail.  Since it is so minimal and so much is paid for by grazing, recreation and firewood fees, it is doubtful that anything would change in that area at least on a day to day basis if it reverted to state owned. 

Also, being a National Forest protects those lands somewhat.  There is still clear cutting happening all over the west, even some on federal lands.  If something is a National Forest, the outcry over trying to destroy it is louder and gets people outside of the west against it.  Congress tried to do a grab to allow widespread logging in our National Forests in 2013, it passed the House, but died in the Senate.  In my old liberal ski town, it was always heartening to see everyone come together if there was a threat to federal lands, environmentalists, ranchers and hunters.   

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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #29 on: February 04, 2017, 09:20:26 AM »
My view is that these are national lands that belong for the pleasure and use of all Americans. The local control argument seems to mainly be a ruse to allow heavier use that benefits immediately surrounding land owners (ranchers, etc)

Under federal control, the land has a better chance of being conserved for all American's. Local politicians can more easily be influenced by locals, it's a double edged sword
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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #30 on: February 09, 2017, 06:11:10 AM »
Why could it be a good idea?

For one, it is not the national parks and pristine areas. Around here the only people that use national forest lands are hunters by and large. I am sure farmers like the Bundy's are the ones that use the BLM lands in the west.

I am confident a State government can sign a timber, oil or gas lease just as good as the feds.

On principle, these lands were not supposed to remain in the hands of the federal government or where purchased by eminent domain in the 30s.

waltworks

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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #31 on: February 09, 2017, 08:18:44 AM »
On principle, these lands were not supposed to remain in the hands of the federal government or where purchased by eminent domain in the 30s.

The vast majority of these lands were unclaimed when the territories in question became states, and federal control was a condition of statehood.

Just FYI. Around here (UT) it's pretty clear the state has zero interest in managing the land in a similar way to the feds - they want to sell it, straight up. If that's your preference, that's fine.

-W

waltworks

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Re: GOP Federal Lands 'disposal' proposal.
« Reply #32 on: February 09, 2017, 09:20:37 AM »
For those who are interested, the NYT has a good overview here: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/06/upshot/why-the-government-owns-so-much-land-in-the-west.html?_r=0

Reading up on the Taylor Act (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taylor_Grazing_Act_of_1934) can be useful, too. The tragedy of the commons situation prior to the Act is widely blamed for the conditions that led to the Dust Bowl. There was widespread call for *more* federal control over rangeland at the time, because overgrazing had become such a problem (prior to the act, anyone could graze livestock on most federal land free of charge).

-W