Related: Republican Senators Just Voted To Sell Off Your National Forests
That’s right, republican congressmen are currently working to transfer large swaths of nationally treasured land that was once championed by their republican predecessor and US President, Theodore Roosevelt. History be damned, on June 15, 2016, the republican members of the House Committee On Natural Resources voted in favor of a bill that would transfer federally run land into the hands of individual states. The bill, titled HR 3650, will be presented on the house floor in the coming months.
If Idaho was responsible for all of its federal lands, it would run a deficit of $111 million dollars every year!
In what appears to be an obvious play on natural gas, coal, and timber, it seems as though your republican representatives are favoring a quick cash grab over common sense and state budgetary needs. While the bill has simply been introduced, it’s already drawing fire from republican and democrat voters alike, both of which understand the importance of public lands in the face of a growing divide between political parties.
“This bill directs the Department of Agriculture, through the Forest Service, to convey to a state up to 2 million acres of eligible portions of the National Forest System (NFS) in it that it elects to acquire through enactment by the state legislature of a bill meeting certain criteria.” – State National Forest Management Act of 2015
As we reported last year, senate republicans already voted in favor of handing over federal lands to states in an amendment buried as a budgetary item for the 2016 fiscal year. That move would allow individual states to sell former federal land as they see fit.Now another bill offers much of the same. And while HR 3650 has a focus on timber resources, the vague language included in the bill could set a precedent for the transfer of federal land into the hands of state governments for a variety of natural resource purposes, i.e. coal and natural gas.
“To authorize States to select and acquire certain National Forest System lands to be managed and operated by the State for timber production and other purposes under the laws of the State, and for other purposes.” – HR 3650
The bill just received a majority vote of yes by the House Committee on Natural Resources with all democrats opposed and all but one republican in favor.
As you can imagine that vote is not sitting well with hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts, who have since banded together to oppose the bill under the Sportsmen’s Access Coalition umbrella. Formed by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, these outdoor inclined individuals are working hard with various federal, state, and private organizations to prevent a move that would likely be one of the worst decisions in our country’s natural history.
You can sign the petition to stop this bill HERE
Find updates on the bill here: H.R.3650 – State National Forest Management Act of 2015