Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wyoming may look at ways to manage federal land

Wyoming might soon eye ways the state could wrest land from the federal government a measure that echoes the decades-old Sagebrush Rebellion. House Bill 228, which provides $30,000 to pay for a study of the state’s options, awaits Gov. Matt Mead’s signature after gaining approval from the Legislature. Critics call the study and the task force that will consider it a waste of money and time. Task force members, to include lawmakers and others, would look at issues such as the loss of property tax revenues on federal lands, delays in permits because of federal laws and the management of wilderness. “The study will look at what Wyoming can do to take primacy on the management of the public lands in Wyoming,” wrote bill sponsor Rep. David Miller, R-Riverton, in an email to the Star-Tribune. The study essentially reignites the Wyoming front of the decades-old Sagebrush Rebellion, the movement from the 1960s-1980s in which many Western states tried through formal requests and state legislation to get the federal government to hand over land it owned within state borders. Miller said critics have blown concerns about the study out of proportion. “Of course their scare tactic is to say the bill is going to privatize Yellowstone and the other national parks, of course it is not,” he wrote in his email. “A simple conclusion of the study may be for the federal government to allow [oversight] by Wyoming agencies, instead of the federal government agencies. Much like we do on other issues.”...more

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