A proposal to seize and sell off America’s national forests and other public lands could make its way into the House GOP’s budget resolution when it is announced this week.Read the full story, Weber County Forum readers:
In a recent memo to the House Budget Committee, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, proposed that America’s public lands be transferred to state control. He then requested $50 million of taxpayer money to be spent to enable transfers to “start immediately.” The memo states that public lands “create a burden for the surrounding states and communities,” and “the solution is to convey land without strings to state, local, and tribal governments.”
Bishop’s plan and similar proposals to give away America’s public lands are controversial. A majority of voters in those regions believe the proposals would likely result in states having to raise taxes, open prized recreation areas to drilling and mining, or sell lands to private interests to cover the substantial costs of management.
Despite these concerns — and despite the fact that these proposals are extremely expensive, unpopular, and most importantly, unconstitutional — there is a strong likelihood that Rep. Bishop’s request will be included in the House GOP’s budget, thanks to intensive lobbying efforts by a handful of right-wing politicians and special interest groups.
Utah State Rep. Ken Ivory's grubby fingerprints are all over this cheesy plan to dispose of our precious public lands:
As reported by E&E Daily, the American Lands Council (ALC), an organization founded by Utah state Rep. Ken Ivory (R), hired a lobbyist at the end of last year to “educate congressional lawmakers on the benefits of relinquishing federal lands to the states.” Federal lobbying disclosure forms show that the ALC paid the lobbyist, Michael Swenson, $150,000 for just three months of lobbying work.Cutting to the chase, we'll shine the spotlight upon this particularly disturbing paragraph:
A recent flood of state-level proposals to seize and sell off America’s public lands is the result, in part, of efforts by the Koch-backed American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to disseminate ‘model legislation’ to conservative lawmakers in Western states.Perhaps some of us had previously believed that the ethically-conflicted Rep Ivory had been merely tilting at windmills, in his all-consuming (and seemingly comical) quest to pull off his proposed "sagebrush rebellion-style" land-grab:
Take our word for it, people. If Mr. Ivory succeeds in enlisting Rep. Bishop and the rest of our Republican dominated U.S. Congress toward adopting this knuckle-headed scheme, Ivory (and the Koch Brothers) will no doubt get the last laugh, folks.
We'll be closely watching future developments in this story, of course. Stay tuned.