A Public Lands Controversy In The Great American West

A big debate in the West over transferring Federal public lands to states.  We’ll hear from both sides.

In this Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 image provided by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, a young bear is rescued from drowning after eluding officials, at Lake Powell, Utah. (AP)

In this Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 image provided by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, a young bear is rescued from drowning after eluding officials, at Lake Powell, Utah. (AP)

If you saw Cliven Bundy and his armed supporters on horseback this spring in Nevada, you saw one face of a movement to get the federal government’s hand off of vast lands in the American West.  The suit-and-tie version of that movement wants control handed over to the states.  And we’re talking a lot of land.  Eighty-one percent of Nevada – federal-controlled.  Sixty-seven percent of Utah.  Forty-eight percent of California, Wyoming.  Critics say the new Sagebrush Rebellion is about oil and gas and development.  Supporters say “states’ rights.”  This hour On Point:  Who will control all Americans’ western lands?

— Tom Ashbrook


Jennifer Napier-Pearce, reporter for the Salt Lake Tribune. (@jnpearce)

Jennifer Fielder, (R),  Montana state senator. (@senatorfielder)

Sen. Martin Heinrich, (D), junior U.S. Senator from New Mexico. (@martinheinrich)

Matt Lee-Ashley, senior fellow at the Center For American Progress. (@MLeeAshley)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: The Land Grab Out West — “Like a rerun of a bad Western, the battle over ownership of America’s public lands has revived many a tired and false caricature of those of us whose livelihoods and families are rooted in the open spaces of the West. With a script similar to one used last spring by the Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, a small contingent of opportunistic politicians is vowing to dispose of America’s national forests, conservation lands and open space.”

Denver Post: Federal lands in Colorado are best left to the feds — “One of the most unexpected distractions to surface in this year’s statewide races is whether Colorado should seek to take over federal lands…They shouldn’t. The transfer would be unpopular, it isn’t about to happen, and it isn’t necessary.”

Deseret News: Public lands in the East and West: why the difference? — “Utah is more than $2.5 billion below average in per-pupil funding for education because less of the lands in Utah are taxable. Failed federal policies are devastating forests, killing millions of animals, spewing billions of pounds of pollution into the air and have decimated watersheds for decades. “

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