Wyoming Liberty Group

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Federal Land Mismanagement

More than 50 years ago Bernard DeVoto uttered perhaps the truest statement ever made with respect to the public lands and the rural West; the actual western view of the place of the federal government, DeVoto explained, is: “Go away and give us more money.”

Robert H. Nelson, Our Languishing Public Lands, Policy Review, February & March 2012.

The quote from Bernard DeVoto, unfortunately, is both accurate and damning. The Wyoming Republican Party, in its platform and resolutions, consistently asks for both. Yet the federal government, increasingly dysfunctional, will not go away, and cannot give the western states more money. What, then, to do? Drop the second demand, perhaps?

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Evidence Clearly in Favor of State Land Management

The Wilderness Society is currently in the middle of a misguided petition campaign to stop the transfer of federal lands into state hands.

The organization’s mission says they aim to “contribute to better protection, stewardship and restoration of our public lands.” This makes it hard to understand why the WS is taking the stance it is on this issue. Given that mission statement, the WS ought to instead join forces with the eleven western states seeking to have federal lands returned to state ownership and management. Such a transfer could stop the forced taxpayer subsidies of a byzantine federal bureaucracy that shows a lower level of both fiduciary and environmental responsibility than their state counterparts.

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