Step Two in Congressional Push to Steal America’s Public Lands

Jan 26, 2017

Lands managed by the BLM in Arizona could see disposal under Rep. Chffetz's new bill.

Mark Miller

New House bill deems 3.3 million acres worthless to the American people

Regarding a new bill introduced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Republican from Utah in the House of Representatives, that would dispose of 3.3 million acres of America’s shared national public lands, the below statement is from Alan Rowsome, senior government relations director for The Wilderness Society.

"Trump's allies in Washington laid the tracks for this land takeover scheme the moment they started their legislative session, and now they're driving a locomotive over the American people and our wild natural heritage," said Alan Rowsome, senior government relations director for The Wilderness Society.

Lands in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming would be affected. The bill comes days after the House passed a rules package that makes such land seizure plans easier to execute. Explaining the new bill on his website, Rep. Chaffetz says these portions of America’s natural heritage “serve no purpose for taxpayers.

“What’s worthless to allies of the fossil fuel industry for all except oil and gas extraction has irreplaceable value to the American people for hiking, hunting, camping, fishing and countless other pastimes that Teddy Roosevelt first acknowledged were central to the strength and well-being of this nation,” said Rowsome. “Today, those outdoor pastimes have a $646 billion value and contribute millions of American jobs to rural communities without harming the lands and waters themselves.”

A poll conducted just a few months after the first time Rep. Chaffetz introduced his legislation in 2013 showed that 72 percent of voters in western states would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supports selling public lands to reduce the budget deficit.

Overall, Americans across the U.S. decisively reject the idea of selling off public lands: Polling from after the 2016 election showed that 78 percent of Americans oppose efforts to privatize or sell public lands, including 64 percent of people who voted for Trump.

For more on the Chaffetz bill, click here.

Hear from everyday Americans on why Our Wild public lands matter.

Brad Brooks