Kiss our public lands goodbye if the GOP gets its wish

There will be a response coming back to this article from the Editorial Board of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Let me just lay out some quick facts: 

  • The feds own/occupy nearly 50% of all land west of the Rockies. 
  • The feds own/occupy 64% of Idaho
  • The feds have mismanaged the lands that they possess.  
  • The feds have no incentive to actually take care of the land. 
I’ll get into the fiscal mismanagement later. If you are interested, check out The Property and Environment Research Center’s publication Divided Lands: State Vs. Federal Management In The West. 

Some members of the Republican Party – even our very own Rep. Raul Labrador – want to take back “their” land from the federal government.

Better said, the Republican Party wants to take our land away and eventually hand it over to private interests.

During the Republican National Convention in July, the party made its intentions clear when it voted to add wording to the GOP party platform calling for Congress to “immediately pass universal legislation providing for a timely and orderly mechanism requiring the federal government to convey certain federally controlled public lands to states.”

Study after study indicates the financial responsibility of managing the vast amount of federal public land would be much too burdensome for states, which really leaves only one option for a place like Idaho when it is suddenly handed millions of acres of land it must maintain. Have no doubt about it, the transfer of lands from the federal government to the states would soon be followed by a mass sell-off of these pristine and public lands to private ownership.

Those signs welcoming us into national forests will be replaced with warnings to “Keep Out,” and our mountainsides will be scarred with clearcuts and mines.

For a century, national forests and parks have been championed by both Democrats and Republicans – it is one of the few topics both parties have consistently agreed upon. But this is a new Republican Party – one dominated by extremists who identify with the likes of Cliven Bundy and his fellow terrorists who illegally occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon earlier this year. These are people who believe all government is bad government, especially when it comes to the federal government.

The Republicans are saying land management decisions are best made locally, but the problem is those decisions won’t be made by people like us. Deals and promises will be made behind closed doors, because money talks.


Think about that come November when you cast your vote, because voting talks too – just ask soon-to-be former Idaho County Commissioner Jim Chmelik, who was soundly defeated in May’s Republican primary largely because of his vocal support of the land grab.