In the midst of highly publicized steps to dismantle insurance coverage for 32 million people and defund women’s healthcare facilities, Republican lawmakers have quietly laid the foundation to give away Americans’ birthright: 640m acres of national land.In a single line of changes to the rules for the House of Representatives, Republicans have overwritten the value of federal lands, easing the path to disposing of federal property even if doing so loses money for the government and provides no demonstrable compensation to American citizens.
At stake are areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Forests and Federal Wildlife Refuges, which contribute to an estimated $646bn each year in economic stimulus from recreation on public lands and 6.1m jobs. Transferring these lands to the states, critics fear, could decimate those numbers by eliminating mixed-use requirements, limiting public access and turning over large portions for energy or property development.
Trump’s pick for the Bureau of Land Management is Montana Representative Zinke. From mid-2016:
Rep. Zinke Flip-Flops on Public Lands Transfer
Congressman votes for bill allowing 4 million acres of American public lands to be managed by states
by John Todd
In a recent op-ed, Congressman Ryan Zinke called himself a “Teddy Roosevelt conservationist.” He based that self-characterization on a few votes he made against the transfer and sale of public lands and for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. But his vote today in the House Natural Resources Committee in favor of H.R 2316 (the Self-Sufficient Community Lands Act) is far from Rooseveltian. In fact, it’s a direct attack on the legacy Teddy left us – our National Forest lands.
There is very little past history to support States maintaining vast areas of non commercialized lands. They will utilize them for revenue particularly those more hard hit with financial issues.
Will state (or federal) revenues be used for the people? There is no reason to believe that will be the case. The profits will go back into corporations and into executive bonuses. The lands and other assets (because that’s all they are to those in charge of them) will be collected as inexpensively as possible leaving pollution of air and water as the norm. It will result in deforestation and further environmental collapse. There will be less habitat for wildlife. What will YOU get out of it?
Is this how you make America great again?