There has been a push for a number of years to put federal lands in the hands of the states. On the surface, it’s a good idea. Who better to manage these lands than the people who live on or near them? But quite frankly, it’s a terrible idea.
First of all, there’s the cost of maintaining these lands to think about. Here in Wyoming, we’re looking some severe cuts to state funding in the eye. If we can’t even fund our schools, our roads, and our law enforcement agencies adequately, how the heck are we going to be able to manage all the lands that are currently funded by the federal government?
We’re going to sell them, that’s how. Just look at Nevada. Oregon. Utah. Especially Utah. Federal lands that have been transferred to all those states have been sold off at alarming rates. Those were public lands that were used by generations of hunters, fishermen, hikers, campers, and even livestock growers who leased the lands for grazing. But now they’re owned by companies or individuals who do not allow access to those lands for any of these activities.
Oh, that couldn’t happen here, you might be thinking. The citizens of this state, who are more active on our public lands than citizens of any other state, would not stand for it. Think again.
Our own (and only) representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, Liz Cheney, introduced a bill in the House that would not only scrap a proposed update of the public input for land use, but would also prohibit similar (even improved) version from being advanced. In short, she’s doing her best to silence the voices of those of us who actually use these lands.
Let Senators Barrasso and Enzi know you don’t support this bill as it moves to the Senate. Let’s keep our public land public.