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GOP right-wingers once again propose selling public lands

Sen. Mark Udall says proposal is ‘imprudent and detrimental’

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Could selling off public lands in the West help solve the budget crisis?

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — The election may be over, but that doesn’t mean the political silly season has ended, as shown by a recent letter from arch-conservative and anti-environmental House GOP right-wingers Rob Bishop (Utah) and Stephen Pearce (Arizona).

On Nov. 26 the two congressmen tried to once again revive interest in the idea of selling public lands in the West to private interests as a way of helping address the federal budget crisis — never mind that most local and state governments don’t have enough money to manage the land they already control.

The idea, of course, is to allow unbridled development on those lands, including real estate speculation and unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, including oil drilling in Alaska and oil shale development in Colorado. Continue reading

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Commentary: Republicans renew their attack on public lands

Speaking at field hearing in California, GOP leaders repeat myths of over-regulation and environmental litigation

Republican lawmakers in Congress are looking to open vast new areas of public lands to exploitation and degradation.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — In the Orwellian world of the know-nothing Republican-led House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, advocacy for control of damaging off-road use becomes support for “unfettered access” for motorized users. That’s the message the House leadership send in a press release following a field hearing in Sacramento, where Republican backers of extractive industries once again renewed their call for removing what they call multiple-use barriers on public lands.

The hearing was led by Utah Republican Rob Bishop and Tom McClintock, a California Republican who has essentially declared war on wilderness conservation with legislation aimed at removing millions of acres of federal land from wilderness status.

Without offering any substantive proof, the Republican leaders once again claimed that decades of increased regulation, environmental litigation and reduced forest management have diminished multiple-use access of these public lands. Continue reading

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