Rep. Chaffetz's bill (H.R. 622) would completely eliminate law enforcement officers from the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.
Credit: BLM, flickr.
Rep. Chaffetz's bill (H.R. 622) would completely eliminate law enforcement officers from the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, making it even harder for the chronically underfunded agencies to protect wildlife habitat, prevent poaching, preserve cultural sites, prevent reckless off-road vehicle use and otherwise take care of the nearly 440 million acres of land they collectively manage.
We should support our law enforcement officers, whose duty is simply to uphold the law—not undermine them and make it easier for criminals to get away with breaking the rules.
Have your zip code ready—and CLICK HERE to call your representative! Tell them to vote NO on H.R. 622 and other bills that undermine public lands!
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Just a few days ago, the congressman withdrew a bill (H.R. 621) that would have sold off 3.3 million acres of public lands after enduring a week of withering criticism from Wilderness Society supporters and Americans of all stripes. This legislation is not as brazen, but it, too, is designed to undermine the idea of national public lands that belong to ALL Americans.
Bill would make land management subject to local whims, endanger staff
Entrusting local authorities with the task of caring for our nation’s parks, forests and other public lands, as the bill mandates, would likely mean more management decisions dictated by parochial concerns rather than sound stewardship designed to safeguard Our Wild for future generations.
Furthermore, an association of federal agents and officers said it "vehemently disagrees" with Chaffetz's proposal because it will put public and federal workers at risk and embolden anti-public lands interests like the Bundy family, potentially leading to violent incidents like the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge standoff.
Credit: BLM, flickr.
This proposal could not come at a worse time. Last week, a survey highlighted that many staffers from national wildlife refuges and other tracts of public lands feel less safe than in the past, with about one in five saying they, their staff or their families have been threatened or harassed over land management disputes. Slashing law enforcement in such places will not help matters.
Growing threats to land agencies and Our Wild
Meanwhile, the Trump regime and its allies in Congress are expected to further cut funding for conservation programs and land agencies, already sitting at less than 1 percent of the federal budget. Enemies of conservation at every level of government are still as determined as ever to seize our public lands and undermine the idea that they should be open to everyone.
The current political regime's first strike was passing a little-known rule that will make it easier to sell off national public lands on the first day Congress was back in session. That set the stage for Rep. Chaffetz's first piece of legislation to divvy up acres for seizure or "disposal." You helped defeat that one, but anti-conservationists still have the machinery of the 'public land takeover' movement gassed up and ready to go.
We must strenuously oppose both overt land sell-off proposals and measures like H.R. 622, which attempt to claw public land away from Americans inch by inch.
CLICK HERE to call your representative! Tell them to vote NO on H.R. 622 and other bills that undermine public lands!