Obama Administration Proposes to Increase the Amount of Land that Can Be Used As A Pawn in the Next Budget Fight

Via the ARRA:

On October 31, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a speech at the National Press Club, "If Congress doesn't step up to act to protect some of these important places that have been identified by communities and people throughout the country, then the President will take action. There's no question that if Congress doesn't act, we will."  Jewell was referring to designating huge swaths of public lands as National Monuments.  When she calls on Congress to “step up,” she may be ignoring that local citizens, including some recreationists and businesses near public lands where Wilderness or other special designations are being considered, may not support such action.

Just what we need - even more land that the Department of Interior can block with gates and guards next time they are unhappy with their budget.


  1. STW:

    28% of my state is Federal land. 47% of yours (AZ) is. In all the 13 western states contain 93% of federally own land. The one thing we don't need is the federal government owning anymore of it. In fact, it is far past time they divested a little. The states can manage public lands a whole lot smarter than over paid people in a building in DC.

  2. Chris Kahrhoff:

    In general I agree, but why should states be managing it either. Seems it should be sold.

  3. marque2:

    Because it is an easier sell to give it to states and since states can't print money they have more interest in making sure their land is productive - even if it remains forested campgrounds.

  4. mesaeconoguy:

    In AZ, state land is held in trust for 13 beneficiaries, the largest being public schools -


    The Common Schools (K-12) are the largest beneficiary owning approximately 87% of the land and receiving close to 90% of the revenue.

    Given the track record of public school expenditures, selling it to the state may not be the best option…

  5. marque2:

    I would rather give it to the states than do nothing. and then we can go state by state and try to get them to sell the land. Trying to get the Feds to sell things is almost impossible.

  6. Andrew_M_Garland:

    During the Great Parks Shutdown, I half expected that the Feds would shut down the Interstate Highways. They must receive some federal funds for maintenance.

    When the government shuts down, or receives a bit less money than it is used to, that would be a powerful demonstration of how much we need govt.

    The Dems could put up signs "This highway closed because the Pubs didn't agree to (placard hung on hooks)." These signs could be altered and reused as needed.


  7. Not Sure:

    "The Dems could put up signs "This highway closed because the Pubs didn't agree to (placard hung on hooks)."
    Republicans (of which I am not one) should be expected to agree to do what Democrats want in order to keep things running for the regular guy just trying to get by? Really? So... what's the point of even having the two parties?

  8. mesocyclone:

    As someone who has spent most of my life in the southwest, I think it's time to have the federal government give most of that land back to the states. Otherwise there will be a perpetual increase in the amount of land off-limits to resource development or even motorized vehicles. Just look at what Clinton did in N AZ / S UT at the very end of his term.

  9. obloodyhell:

    Don't you know you don't actually own anything by now? It all belongs to the Federal government. You just get to Rent It as long as they don't want it from you.

    Now you know what the Amerinds felt like.

  10. obloodyhell:

    To give the APPEARANCE of a choice... silly English Kaaa---niggit.

  11. jdgalt:

    Article I, Section 8 says the federal government needs state governments' permission for every land acquisition.

    Ask your state legislators if they'll say no.

  12. Not Sure:

    "To give the APPEARANCE of a choice..."
    If that really works, we're more screwed than I would have thought

  13. Andrew_M_Garland:

    It is hard to sound outrageous in our current situation. Shutting down interstate highways because they have received prior federal maintenance would be outrageous.

    It was also outrageous that the govt shut down parks and monuments. It was a demonstration of totalitarian control.

    "should be expected to agree to do what Democrats want". Well, that was the lesson. The Pubs wanted to defund only Obamacare. The Dems replied that they would refuse any partial funding, and so the Dems "shut down" the government by that refusal. The public mostly blamed the Pubs, so the Dems won that one.

    Although Obama went out of his way to prevent access to public lands, and even to leased lands, and even to scenic outlooks along highways, the public did not look at Obama, but at Obama's finger pointing at the Pubs. Obama has complete control as long as that misdirection is believed by the public.


  14. mahtso:

    Arizona is not allowed to spend the money it receives from sale of this land -- the money goes into a trust fund and the interest is spent -- last I heard, the fund had over $ 2 Billion in it. Arizona is also not allowed to use any of the money for upkeep or maintenance of this land, even if that work would increase the value of the land.

  15. mahtso:

    I think many commenters misconstrue the plan: these lands are already owned by the the Federal Government, the plan is to so designate the land to reduce the uses that it can be put to. Whether that is good or bad, I have no position.

  16. mahtso:

    PS FYI -- the State Trust Land is about 9 to 10% of the State and the law requires that the land be used to raise the most money possible over the long run. Only about 20% of Arizona is private land; the rest is State Trust Land, Indian Reservations, Natl. Forests, BLM, Parks and Wildlife Refuges, and Military Bases.

  17. c_andrew:

    During the sagebrush rebellion, an acquaintance of mine who was a commercial real estate broker flew back to NYC to meet with a client. With the business of the day done, they went to dinner and in the small talk that followed, his client said he was baffled by Westerners' opposition to more wilderness designations. "Heck, maybe when I retire, I'll hitch-up the camp trailer and head out there to see some of it."
    Jack told him, "It's against the law to have motorized vehicles in wilderness designated areas."
    His client processed that for about 5 seconds, then said, 'Well, that's pretty fucking stupid."