Convention of Statesmen


Lee Discusses Problems With Public Lands Highlighted By Shutdown

"Over the past week or so, it has become apparent that certain federal agencies have, in a number of instances, acted rather intentionally to cause what I would consider undue hardship for the purpose of making a political point…

"Another aspect of this problem is that there are some states that are by their very nature far more susceptible to this kind of manipulation and this kind of intentional infliction of pain than other states. While most states have within them less than 10 percent of federal land, meaning that while in most states less than 10 percent of the land is owned by the federal government, in 11 Western states, including my own, the government owns more than 50 percent of the land. In my state—the state of Utah—the federal government owns roughly 70 percent of the land. And while some may praise the benefits of public land, it’s clear that the federal government can and will use its immense power as a political tool. And I would add to this—public land becomes very unlike public land when it is closed by people who arbitrarily say “because of a shutdown we’re going to exclude you.” It becomes government land at that point, and that’s the point they seem to be making…"

"The bottom line here is that federal land management agencies exert enormous amounts of influence over the country, an influence that’s not often recognized by those outside the Western United States. This influence is not just in the national parks, it’s felt in many aspects of every day life in states like mine. It’s felt in how we fund public schools, how we maintain our police and our fire services, and how we develop our infrastructure. And as we’ve seen over the past week, these agencies are willing and able to wheeled tremendous influence in a manner that serves the political ambitions of the few, at the expense of the many. This raises a number of questions about the nature and extent of federally owned land, questions we need to address here in congress."


Copyright 2013. All rights reserved by Candace E. Salima.

Lee Discusses Problems With Public Lands Highlighted By Shutdown Lee Discusses Problems With Public Lands Highlighted By Shutdown Reviewed by Candace Salima on Tuesday, October 08, 2013 Rating: 5