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.
The actual language of this portion of the platform reads (see p. 21):
The federal government owns or controls over 640 million acres of land in the United States, most of which is in the West. These are public lands, and the public should have access to them for appropriate activities like hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting. Federal ownership or management of land also places an economic burden on counties and local communities in terms of lost revenue to pay for things such as schools, police, and emergency services. It is absurd to think that all that acreage must remain under the absentee ownership or management of official Washington. Congress shall immediately pass universal legislation providing for a timely and orderly mechanism requiring the federal government to convey certain federally controlled public lands to states. We call upon all national and state leaders and representatives to exert their utmost power and influence to urge the transfer of those lands, identified in the review process, to all willing states for the benefit of the states and the nation as a whole. The residents of state and local communities know best how to protect the land where they work and live. They practice boots-on- • REPUBLICAN PLATFORM 2016 • 22 the-ground conservation in their states every day. We support amending the Antiquities Act of 1906 to establish Congress’ right to approve the designation of national monuments and to further require the approval of the state where a national monument is designated or a national park is proposed.
Notice, it says that "certain federally controlled public lands" to the states. What lands are those "certain lands"? The American Lands Council Public Policy, which was unanimously ratified by representatives from 14 states, makes this clear:
WE SUPPORT EXCLUDING EXISTING NATIONAL PARKS, CONGRESSIONALLY DESIGNATED WILDERNESS AREAS, INDIAN RESERVATIONS, AND MILITARY INSTALLATIONS FROM THE TRANSFER
True to their word, Utah legislators passed HB 276 in 2016, which specifically declares:
177 63L-8-104. Declaration of policy.
178 (1) The Legislature declares that it is the policy of the state that:
179 (a) public land be retained in state ownership consistent with the provisions of this
181 (b) public land may not be sold, except:
182 (i) as consistent with this chapter;
183 (ii) as consistent with local land use plans;
184 (iii) with the approval of the director and the board;
185 (iv) after sufficient opportunity for public comment; and
186 (v) for an important public interest;
Despite the inaccurate representations of the GOP Platform language by extremist groups, who are only interested in promoting fear and confusion, educated people around the country are realizing that this critical issue affects us all. According to Hotair.com,
"Why is the prospect of transferring much of this property to the states which encompass it such a controversial idea? Since when did the Founding Fathers want the federal government to be a landlord on this massive scale? This is hardly a conspiracy theory cooked up at the RNC. It’s a serious issue which is long overdue for a national debate."
Thank you for being a part of this imperative movement. Thank you for sharing this information with your elected officials. Thank you for voting in the types of people who understand why local management matters. Thank you for helping the American Lands Council continue to educate the nation on the Transfer of Public Lands.