Waste Land | Citizens Against Government Waste

Waste Land

The WasteWatcher

In the land of the free, the federal government still controls more than 50 percent of all land west of Kansas.  The ongoing control of such a large part of the western states by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has been disastrous to the environment and the economy.  With record-setting wildfires burning millions of acres, emitting pollutants into the air, and destroying habitats and watersheds, the only solution is to transfer the public lands to willing states, which will provide for more accountable and efficient land management.

A small percentage of the 250 million acres controlled by BLM consists of parks and wilderness; the rest is best suited for grazing and mineral production.  Nearly 200 million acres of forest are controlled by USFS, most of which is best suited for well-managed timber production.  Transferring this multiple-use federal land back to the western states would still give BLM and USFS full control over national parks, military bases, Indian reservations or congressionally designated wilderness areas.  

A March 2015 study published by the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) shows the staggering disparity between productivity on state and federal public lands throughout the western states.  The federal government loses 27 cents for every dollar it spends on land management, which amounts to approximately $2 billion per year.  To the contrary, states generate $14.51 on average for every dollar spent managing public lands.  The report stated, “By nearly all accounts, our federal lands are in trouble, both in terms of fiscal performance and environmental stewardship.”

Even though the federal government’s management of public lands has been a disaster, there is still hope.  Ranchers, loggers, farmers, and miners, working with state agencies, can provide the necessary and proper stewardship to preserve and protect public lands financially and environmentally.  It is past time for politicians in Washington, D.C. to transfer federally controlled public lands back to the western states.

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