Yesterday's meeting, sponsored by The Heritage Foundation, Federalism in Action and the American Lands Council, in Washington DC was a great success. Numerous organizations and media outlets participated and heard from some of the nation's leading experts on how our public lands play into our states' ability...or inability to have an equal footing with the other states.
If you were not able to join us, you can watch the recorded meeting on Heritage.org. This short presentation by constitutional expert, Ronald Rotunda, explains how many Americans are unaware that the federal estate constitutes a majority of the land area in Western states. Over 90 percent of all federally controlled land is located in the West, with roughly one out of every two acres managed by federal bureaucrats. We are told that this is to preserve the environment, benefit local economies, and protect public recreation. Instead, the result has been polluted air, decimated wildlife and water supplies, depressed economies, unsafe communities, and blocked recreational opportunities. Utah’s Legislature commissioned a landmark legal study on the transfer of public lands to the state that concludes there is no constitutional authority for the federal government to permanently retain these lands. A recent study by the Property & Environment Research Center discloses that the federal government loses $0.27 per dollar spent managing public lands while states gain a positive $14.51 per dollar spent managing public lands. Yesterday's discussion focused on a real solution big enough for an environmental, economic and constitutional renaissance in America – #FreeTheLands.