Will UT Senators Stop Bears Ears Monument?

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Everywhere you look federal bureaucrats are taking western land as fast as they can snatch it up. One of the latest attempts to increase federal control over the west is now happening in the state of Utah over a proposed monument that would take millions of acres out of local control and put them in the hands of a distant landlord. 

Senators Mike Lee and Orin Hatch are introducing an Antiquities Act Amendment in an effort to stop such sweeping federal officials from overreaching its bounds and further harming the people of Utah.

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Anti-hunting laws on federal lands?

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Those who support the Transfer of Public Lands understand a few basic facts:

  1. In order to be truly sovereign states, each state must manage the lands within their own boundaries. 
  2. The transfer of these lands has already been promised to each state in their enabling act.
  3. States have been shown, over and over again, to manage their public lands better than the federal government.
  4. 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.

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Nation's Forest Budget Going Up in Flames

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People all over the west are fleeing their homes to avoid the effects of devastating wildfires, and most of those fleeing are nowhere near the vicinity. 

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(400+ acre fire in MT two days ago)

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US Forest Service stretched to breaking point

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For the past four years, The American Lands Council has been following the sad destruction of forests all across the West as failed federal policies have led to dead and dying forests that have turned into million-acre-matchsticks just waiting for a spark. Blaming "climate change", rather than looking to correct devastating federal policies, the U.S. Forest service is admittedly at a "breaking point". Each summer has seen catastrophic fires that are destroying our air, watershed, and millions of animals as we wait for Congress to fix the myriad of problems that they and the federal bureaucrats have created. 

TheGuardian.com February, 2016

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Anti-hunting laws target public lands

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According the U.S. Sportsman's Alliance, sportsmen donate more than $440 million to wildlife conservation efforts each year. True sportsmen care deeply about wildlife. We not only respect the magnificent animals we love to see and sometimes hunt, we know if wildlife and their habitat is not managed well, populations suffer and hunting opportunities are lost.

We at American Lands Council greatly value the right to hunt, fish, trap, and otherwise enjoy all our public lands in a responsible manner. We understand the importance of striking a thoughtful balance that delivers a healthy environment, diverse outdoor recreation opportunities, and sustains the land-based livelihoods that support our families. 

Sadly a variety of very powerful groups are working hard to tip the scales in a horrific sense. They push for more restrictions to halt the wonderful benefits that come from wise stewardship of our resources. They push for the obliteration of access roads and trails. They push to to do away with beneficial hunting, fishing, and trapping as wildlife management tools. They push to lock up our lands while we fight to keep our public lands open and accessible. And they have a terrible habit of telling everyone just the opposite.

This fall animal rights activists hope to prey on Montana voters, asking them to ban all public trapping on all public lands in the Treasure State. The American Lands Council agrees with the growing number of professional wildlife biologists, sportsmen's organizations, ranchers, and farmers who warn that passage of I-177 (the anti-trapping ballot initiative) will not only restrict sportsmen's use of public lands, it will cause dangerous predator populations to skyrocket out of control -- endangering citizens and devastating livestock and big game populations. 

The vast majority of public land in Montana, upwards of 25 million acres, is controlled by a federal government that is dominated by wealthy special interest groups and distant, unaccountable bureaucrats. In fact, over half of all land in western America is under control of a largely out-of-touch Washington DC.

This month, the Alaska Dispatch News reported on a recent decision by federal agents at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who sided with anti-hunting groups to severely reduce predator control in Alaska. Keep in mind that Alaska contains extraordinarily high populations of wolves and bears. In part, the Dispatch reported: 

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Government to Blame for Less Public Access

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The Montana Standard recently featured a Guest View by Jack D. Jones of Butte, who worked as a wildlife biologist in Montana for 36 years with the Bureau of Land Management. It's tough to argue with the view of someone who has seen the inside workings of the BLM for decades and has seen the changes in federal government that have been eroding the health of our public lands for far too long. 

 

57422eefd16ef.jpgAs anticipated from the beginning of the Montana political campaigns, public land access and access to/on federal and state public lands tops the list. It’s also apparent how all the political rhetoric falls far short of addressing the real issue. No, it’s not all about an opened fishing access site along the east Gallatin River. The issue is larger -- related to the millions of acres of federal and state public lands in Montana the majority of these lands which now approach 65 percent are closed off to the public and who closed them.

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Current Fire Map Looks Familiar

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The USDA Forest Service has a very convenient webpage that will show you, at any given time, the current wildfires being fought throughout the United States. The map almost always has a familiar ring to it for those of us who understand the public lands and that the overwhelming majority of these lands are held in the West. 

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The View From Skamania Co., WA

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If you want the real scoop, ask a county commissioner. They see the issues up-close-and-personal, with all of its challenges and consequences, as was so eloquently demonstrated by Commissioner Chris Brong in his recent letter to the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee’s ranking member, Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, D-Ariz. Rep Grijalva held a forum on the "growing anti-government extremism on public lands."  The forum discussed the emergence of this movement and the government’s efforts to confront these dangers, and invited the public to send comments. Skamania County Commissioner Chris Brong submitted the following response, which was published on HealthyForests.com with his permission:
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GOP Platform Adopts Transfer of Public Lands Language

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This week has been an exciting one for the Transfer of Public Lands movement as it has now been adopted into the language of the 2016 National GOP Platform as citizens throughout the country are recognizing that the health, sustainability and welfare of our lands, as well as our people, are dependent upon it. 

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Public Officials Requesting Coordination

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In June of this year, Congressman Steve Pearce sent a letter  to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director, Neil Kornze, regarding numerous requests that have been submitted by elected officials all over the country. These many requests petition Mr. Kornze for coordination on the Resource Management Planning Rules, 81 Fed. Reg. 8674 (Feb. 25, 2016), also known as the BLM's 'Planing 2.0' initiative. 

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