Thursday, March 09, 2017

Rob Bishop: Republicans seek 'paradigm shift' in federal land management

by Bartholomew D Sullivan , USA TODAY 

Four days after Donald Trump took office, Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz introduced legislation to dispose of 3.3 million acres of federal land in 10 Western states. Nine days later, after public protests and irate phone calls from sportsmen and others, he withdrew the bill. Last week, Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop, another Utah Republican, wrote to colleagues, saying “it’s time for a paradigm shift in our nation’s approach to federal land management” and called for $50 million to be set aside to facilitate conveyances of federal land to state, local and tribal governments. Both proposals illustrate the radical shift in public land policy that has been a goal of Republicans for several years. The 2016 Republican Party Platform pointed to 640 million acres of land owned or controlled by the federal government. “It is absurd to think that all that acreage must remain under the absentee ownership or management of official Washington,” the policy statement reads. “Congress shall immediately pass universal legislation providing for a timely and orderly mechanism requiring the federal government to convey certain federally controlled public lands to states.” Overall public land policy — which includes resource extraction, wildfire policy, efforts to restore the timber industry and record-breaking declarations of national monument acreage by President Barack Obama — has been in flux for some time. But with one-party government in Washington, Republicans think the time is right to make significant changes. The shift comes at a time when armed vigilantes — who took over an Oregon federal bird sanctuary for five weeks last year in a protest against federal management of public lands — threatening violence, were acquitted by a jury of their peers. Three of the defendants were sons of Cliven Bundy, who staged a similar armed standoff in 2014 in Nevada after refusing to pay the fees for grazing his cattle on federal lands. On the first day of the new Congress, on a largely party-line vote, Republicans passed a rule that made it easier to transfer federal lands by treating such conveyances as cost free to the federal government even if they reduce federal revenue from mining, oil and gas drilling, grazing rights and other sources. Its author was Bishop, who said the rule change “democratizes our process by eliminating bureaucratic red tape.”...more

A rather lengthy article, covering the issue just about the way you'd expect anybody by the name of  Bartholomew to write it.


Dave Skinner said...

Amazingly slanted, cribbed off Green press releases.

Frank DuBois said...

Reform means you're a "vigilante", don't you see.