Tennessee Stands for the Transfer of Public Lands


Why would an eastern state like The Tennessee pass a resolution supporting the Transfer of Public Lands to the Western States? On January 26th, Tennessee Governor Hallam signed a resolution passed by their Legislature calling "on other states to pass a similar resolution in support of the transfer of the federal public lands to the western states."

Some who are unfamiliar with the devastating affects caused by the failed federal policies waged on western public lands may wonder why the Eastern States would be interested in their transfer to all willing western states. But states such as TennesseeGeorgiaSouth Carolina, and Arkansas realize that while states east of the continental divide fund education, public safety and other essential government services largely through property taxes, western states struggle to provide these most basic needs because Congress lords the PILT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) over western communities “like some two-bit protection racket,” in the words of U.S. Senator Mike Lee. Just as importantly, they also know that those payments come at the expense of Eastern states who are forced to fund these payments to western states in order to keep them from using their own resources.

These Eastern States also understand that we all want healthy air, water and wildlife; Abundant outdoor recreation opportunities; and safe, vibrant communities. But one-size-fails-all federal management of our public lands is giving us unhealthy air, water, and decimated wildlife; blocked off and destroyed recreation access, and unsafe, economically depressed communities. We need to free the lands from federal bureaucracy so we can tend them more like a healthy, productive garden and less like a stuffy old "hands off, don't touch" museum. With more effective local care, we can restore the balance we need to produce healthy air, water and wildlife; abundant recreation opportunities; & safe, vibrant communities. Who knows western lands the best? Who better to tend the environment in our state than the people who live here and care about our air and water and wildlife the most?

These Eastern States also understand that a threat upon any state's sovereignty is a threat to every state's sovereignty. As the U.S. Supreme Court recently admonished, "the constitutional equality of the States is essential to the harmonious operation of the scheme upon which the Republic was organized." In other words, our constitutional system itself doesn't work where the States are treated unequally. The basic rights of liberty, property and self-governance are essential to the proper balance in our unique system of government. As Thomas Jefferson warned, “it must be the states themselves erecting barriers at the constitutional line that cannot be surmounted…” 

Since the founding of the American Lands Council in 2012, States around the West and across the nation have passed a variety of legislation towards bringing about the Transfer of Public Lands to all willing western states, and, with your support, the legislative efforts continue. Please be aware of the bills moving forward in your state and contact your elected officials to urge their relentless support for the only solution big enough to secure more effective local care and management of our unique western lands.

The American Lands Council urges all states, both those in the East and the West, to stand together and pursue the legal and constitutional means afforded to us under the U.S. Constitution to compel Congress to honor the very same statehood terms and the very same constitutional obligations to relinquish control over the public lands following statehood.



Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.