Shasta-Trinity National Forest (California). Proposed legislation would would authorize states to seize millions of acres of national forest land from the U.S. Forest Service.
Credit: Bob Wick (BLM).
"National forests would be turned over to state control and managed for timber production in a bill moving through the House of Representatives.
The latest attempt to seize national public lands comes from Rep. Don Young (R-AK). The State National Forest Management Act would authorize states to seize millions of acres of national forest land from the U.S. Forest Service and prioritize those lands for logging.
Rep. Young's bill would circumvent bedrock environmental laws and effectively take a great, wild national resource-forests prized for wildlife habitat, clean water and outdoor recreation, among many other values-and treat it as merely a means to clear-cut more trees for lumber.
In addition, the House Natural Resources Committee advanced a public lands takeover bill-the Self Sufficient Community Lands Act, introduced by Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID)-that would allow state governors to appoint "advisory committees" of industry leaders to make management decisions on national forest land. Under these new advisory committees, millions acres of forests could be exempted from key conservation laws meant to protect them in perpetuity.
These troubling proposals would further tip public land management in favor of corporate special interest groups, jeopardizing access to outdoor recreation spots for ordinary Americans. We won't stand for the radical public land takeover movement. Help us by signing a petition to tell elected officials not to sell America's public lands for development.
Reps. Young and Labrador are repeat anti-public lands offenders
This is not Rep. Young's first anti-conservation salvo. In Nov. 2015, he tried to attach a rider to a federal appropriations bill that would have blocked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from protecting habitat in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Earlier that year, he introduced a bill that would have added arbitrary obstacles to the process of designating national monuments under the Antiquities Act. Previously, Young championed measures to weaken Clean Air Act standards for offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean.
Rep. Labrador has introduced bills to waive key environmental laws so our national forests could be more easily stripped of timber and bar national monuments in Idaho, among others.
We need to "Keep It Public," not bow to radical forces
These bills and their congressional champions epitomize the fringe-led campaign to wrest national public lands from the American people, often with the end result of industrializing them or selling them off for profit. This movement breaks with decades of tradition and threatens to make public lands into places that may be fenced off or otherwise closed to all but a select few. "
If you are inclined, help fight the movement to lock up public lands: Tell Congress you want to #KeepItPublic.