Utah Republican Mike Lee says he will introduce a bill that would transfer federal lands to the states
U.S. Senator and reputed short-lister for the Supreme Court Mike Lee has leveled his crosshairs on America’s public lands, pledging in a pointed speech and Twitter posts to a long-term goal of dismantling the system of federally owned land.
“Finally, our long-term goal must be the transfer of federal lands to the states,” the Utah Republican said in a series of Tweets on Saturday.
Lee’s timing is particularly striking given that his name is cited as a potential candidate to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. News outlets in Utah and Washington D.C. have reported that Lee is on President Trump’s short list for that lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land.
Federal lands total about 640 million acres of national forest, national parks and wildlife refuges, as well as lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. These lands support millions of hunters and anglers every year. Popular big game including elk, mule deer, pronghorn and others depend on these large tracts.
In a speech to the to the Sutherland Institute on Friday Lee barely mentioned Theodore Roosevelt, the hunter-president who set aside public lands for the people to use and enjoy, and Gifford Pinchot, who said the lands should be used for the “greatest good, for the greatest number, for the long term.”
Instead Lee dismisses our national forests as “royal forests,” comparing the Forest Service to the British Royalty. In short, he turned Roosevelt’s conservation legacy on its head.
Lee says Western states would be better off if they were more like Missouri or Illinois, with virtually no public land.
Lee’s speech ignored several key facts:
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And let your voice be heard!!! He needs to hear from all of us but from Utah in particular! Let him know you care about your public lands, the economy that goes with it, and the solace you find.
Chief of staff: Allyson Bell Allyson_Bell@lee.senate.gov
Legislative Director: Christy Woodruff Christy_Woodruff@lee.senate.gov
I first learned of this article from Land Tawney, President and CEO of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. If you are not a member of BHA I strongly recommend joining. BHA is leading the fight to keep public lands in public hands. Transferring public lands to State Ownership almost guarantees they will be sold to private entities and thus stripping public access to them all together!