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Some states say no to federal land transfer bills

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock speaks out against federal land transfer legislation in a rally organized by sportsman at the Capitol in Helena. (From Helena Indpendent-Record video)
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock speaks out against federal land transfer legislation in a rally organized by sportsman at the Capitol in Helena. (From Helena Indpendent-Record video)

PUBLIC LANDS -- The movement to transfer control of federal lands to the states is hitting a roadblock in some state Capitols.

Sportsman's groups get some of the credit for standing up to this greedy land grab agenda and waste of state taxpayer money.

Some bold politicians are stepping up to look out for the public good in the face of pressure that could see more public lands run by private interests.  For example:

Montana governor vetoes federal lands study bill
On Monday, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock vetoed House Bill 496, which was originally drafted to fund a study of federal lands for potential transfer, but passed only after being heavily amended to study just federal lands management. Gov. Bullock said the study was too broad in scope, and for that reason vetoed the bill.

Colorado federal lands transfer bill dies

Republican-sponsored Colorado legislation -- Senate Bill 39 --would have allowed Colorado to exercise authority along with the federal government over federal public lands, but the bill died Monday  in the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee on a party-line vote of 7-6. Sportsmen and conservationists began their opposition to the bill in February with a rally at the Capitol.

Democrats seem to be making a difference in stopping the federal land grabs, not only in Colorado, but also in Idaho as well as in Washington, where two transfer bills were killed this spring.

See a Western state-by-state update on federal lands transfer legislation compiled by High Country News.

Here's a roundup by USA Today: 'New rebels' seek control of federal land

BACKGROUND

  • Look here for a sampling of how sportsmen's groups have opposed the transfer efforts.
  • With transfer proposals unpopular in Montana, a Missoula Independent report found that support in the state is linked to Utah.
  • Find stories about a report with insight on the motivation for the federal land grabs, plus links to stories looking into the costs to taxpayers.
  • Here's a website that looks into funding for ALEC, which is supporting state takeover campaigns.


Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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