The beginning of state management of national forests

A group of Western senators, including Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo, both R-Idaho, have introduced a bill to allow states to implement their own conservation plans to protect sage grouse and their habitats, in lieu of federal management. Congress would be allowing states to override the decisions by the Forest Service and BLM to …

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Interior nominee Zinke talks about federal lands

He had a lot of interesting things to say that generally put him within the normal range of political appointees to this position (a nice surprise, given some of Trump’s other nominees), including retaining federal ownership and understanding of climate issues, and this: An admirer of President Theodore Roosevelt, Zinke said management of federal lands …

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Utah to sue to get federal lands

Or at least they’ve set aside the money to pay for it (the lawsuit, not the land).  So what are they waiting for?  Maybe they are hoping a Trump administration would make it unnecessary? (Some of you would probably also like Heartland’s take on forest fires.  “But now, the Department of the Interior misinforms us, …

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“Patriot” attack on public lands (and its users and employees)

Some members of Congress are trying to shine a spotlight on the threat to public land from armed militias.  They point out the direct threats, but also link them to the attempts to transfer federal lands to states: “Anti-government extremists didn’t always direct their ire at public-lands agencies. That changed, in part, because a group …

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Federal lands support diverse economies

Recent research by Headwaters Economics asked whether federal lands are an economic liability or an asset to rural communities (summarized in this opinion piece). On average, we find that from 1970-2014, rural counties with the most federal land grew much faster than similar counties with the least federal land: population grew four times faster, employment …

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Congress supports unloading national forests

From a New York Times op-ed by the president of the Trust for Public Land: Last week, the United States Senate voted 51 to 49 to support an amendment to a nonbinding budget resolution to sell or give away all federal lands other than the national parks and monuments. This was bad enough. But it …

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More on monetizing public lands

The latest on Montana, giving credit where credit is due (i.e. there’s nothing ‘grassroots’ about it): “The American Lands Council is leading the charge on this. I’m not a member, but I do appreciate that they’re helping elected officials get better educated on this,” Fielder said. I’m sure that education includes these facts: ALC bases …

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Local planning and forest planning

I think this article was an offshoot of the recent surge in discussion of transferring federal land to Montana (and other western states).  (A number of the articles linked in the sidebar are about that.) This article ends up making an important point, but also shows how people can take that point and run the …

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Bipartisan poll finds broad support for public land conservation in Montana

Not sure what to make of this – “Of those polled, 48 percent listed conservation issues as the primary factor in supporting elected officials and 38 percent they were somewhat important. Conservation issues were less important for 9 percent and not important to 4 percent.” “When asked if protecting public lands in Montana has generally …

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