Those who support the Transfer of Public Lands understand a few basic facts:
- In order to be truly sovereign states, each state must manage the lands within their own boundaries.
- The transfer of these lands has already been promised to each state in their enabling act.
- States have been shown, over and over again, to manage their public lands better than the federal government.
- Those who live in and rely on the lands know best how to manage them.
In his recent article in the Post Register, Orson Johnson said it beautifully.
In his article, Johnson explains how anti-hunting sentiment could lead to anti-hunting laws on a federal level if lands remain under federal government control:
According to my research, about 5 percent to 6 percent of the U.S. hunting age population actually hunts wild game (compared to 16 percent in Idaho). Some 16 percent of the U.S. population is opposed to hunting. The rest are neither strongly for nor against hunting. In our increasingly urbanized society the percentage of hunters will likely continue to diminish and non-hunters and anti-hunters will likely increase.
A number of animal rights and anti-hunting organizations are more than willing to restrict or ban hunting altogether. They have a much better chance of accomplishing their goals on the federal level than on the state level. In some cases, hunting and other activities have already been restricted by the endangered species act, the clean water act or by federal agencies. The power of a very vocal minority, whether you agree with their agenda or not, has increasingly shown that it can sometimes impose its will on the majority. Anti-hunting laws have little chance of being enacted in a state like Idaho. But they could be imposed on the federal level. In that case the states would have little chance of overturning those regulations.
Johnson goes on to explain how the federal government could very likely succeed in enforcing such restrictions:
The most likely scenario is by fiat from one of the increasingly powerful federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, the Bureau of Land Management, or the United States Forest Service. Federal courts also sometimes “enact” legislation from the bench. These forms of legislation continue to take decision making power away from state and local governments. This trend seems likely to continue.
Johnson is absolutely correct. More and more we see our Constitutional rights taken away as elected officials forget the checks and balances that were carefully crafted by our Founders. Those checks and balances are not only between the Executive, Judicial and Legislative branches of government, but even more importantly, between the federal government, whose powers are intended to be "few and defined", and the states, whose powers encompass everything not explicitly given to the federal government by the people.
We will give the final word to Mr. Johnson, who understands that, though states are prepared to financially manage their own lands, there is far more than economics to consider when it comes to who should be managing the lands within your state.
It has been said with some justification that the states do not have the resources to manage the huge acreages that the federal government owns in most of the western states. But with our staggering and rapidly growing federal debt, it may not be long before the federal government will no longer have the resources to manage these lands either. In any case, even inadequate management by the state may eventually be preferable to the restrictions of an increasingly powerful and autocratic federal government.
Johnson was raised in Idaho Falls. He is a fourth generation Idahoan.
View original article HERE.