Wyoming Liberty Group
American Lands Council Meeting
The American Lands Council (ALC) met in Salt Lake City last week, October 7th through 9th. Wyoming's delegation consisted of Representatives David Miller, Jerry Paxton, and Marti Halverson; Senators Dan Dockstader, and Ogden Driskill; and two non-legislators, Bob Wharff of Wyoming Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, and your correspondent, Charles Curley.Eleven states in the west have more than 50% of their lands managed by the federal government. Counties vary as well: Teton County is more than 97% federal land. This compares with states east of Colorado, with only a few percent still in federal hands. Toward that end, the ALC is co-ordinating a national effort which seeks the transfer of some of the public lands from the federal government to those western willing states for local control. The end goal is to provide better access, better environmental health, and better economic productivity to those public lands.
14 states were represented. We heard from two Lieutenant Governors; Utah's Spencer J. Cox, and Alaska's Mead Treadwell. Lest anyone think this is only a western states issue, South Carolina Rep. Alan Clemons also addressed the group.
The main purpose of this meeting was to agree on a Public Policy Statement: an outline of what the ALC wishes to achieve. This we did unanimously Thursday morning, after two days of wrangling and to-ing and fro-ing, and a lot of good debate.
We also heard from Martin Goldny, Deputy Minister, Aboriginal Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations, Government of the Northwest Territories (NWT), on the transfer of public lands from the Canadian federal government to the NWT, effective on April 1 of this year. Mr. Goldny described the three-way negotiations between Ottawa, the NWT and the First Nations over the transfer. The negotiators were guided in part by a similar transfer from the federal government to the Yukon Territory. “When decisions are made by people closer to the subject matter, the decisions tend to be better,” Goldney said. Quite.
There were lawn signs available, and they will be available through the ALC web site for a modest contribution. ALC President Ken Ivory said that three lawn signs per precinct was saturation. In Wyoming, that should be feasible. Your correspondent has one out already.
The Wyoming delegation caucused after the Public Policy Statement was adopted. We decided to form the Wyoming Lands Council (WLC), a Wyoming affiliate of the ALC. We gave Bob Wharff the part-time and non-exclusive job of forming the organization. Several legislators chipped in to start funding the organization.
I'll have more to say on the transfer of public lands and ALC, and WLC, in future blog entries.