Friday, February 17, 2012

Santorum’s land plan echoes past proposals

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s call to sell or transfer federally owned public lands Tuesday night in Boise earned him several rounds of applause. But Idaho Gov. Butch Otter found in 2005 that while Idahoans don’t like how federal lands are managed, they don’t want to lose access to the places they hunt, fish and camp. President Herbert Hoover and former Interior Secretary James Watt learned similar lessons in their times. But Santorum’s detailed proposal on an issue close to the heart of Westerners may help set him apart from Republican Mitt Romney in the March 6 Republican caucus, which is expected to attract the most devoted party members. Santorum isn’t the only Republican in the race urging the federal government to transfer public land. Rep. Ron Paul has called for eliminating the Department of Interior, which manages more than 500 million acres of public land and a big chunk of Idaho, almost two-thirds of which is owned by the federal government. “I’d rather see the land owned and controlled by the states,” Paul told a crowd in Elko, Nev., earlier this month. Romney’s campaign did not respond to an Idaho Statesman request for details about the candidate’s federal lands policy Wednesday. Earlier this month, Romney told the Reno-Gazette Journal that he didn’t know why the federal government owned all the land and that he hadn’t studied the transfer issue. “But where government ownership of land is designed to satisfy, let’s say, the most extreme environmentalists, from keeping a population from developing their coal, their gold, their other resources for the benefit of the state, I would find that to be unacceptable,” Romney said...more

I headed up Sec. Watt's land disposal program mentioned in the article.  What I learned was not what the author intimates.  I learned that some agencies in the Dept. of Interior didn't even know how much land they owned.  I learned the Park Service owned the land underneath the stadium where the Washington Redskins played.  I learned...well, maybe someday I'll write about this.

1 comment:

Tick said...

I sure wish somebody would write about it. This ol' country boy must have got a degree in the wrong field 'cause I'm as confused as a yankee in a hay field.