On the Necessity of Federal Lands

 

DT had a chat with Field and Stream. Twitchy:

The GOP front-runner came out against letting states control public lands now run by the federal government saying, “I don’t like the idea because I want to keep the lands great, and you don’t know what the state is going to do.”

Absolutely right. America cannot be Great if its constituent elements do something doubleplus ungreat. But there’s more to consider here. Imagine for a moment that “lands” was replaced by some other concept. Schools. Gun laws. Welfare reform. It really does remind you how important the federal government is, how necessary it is, how it’s really the backstop that protects us all no matter where we reside. You don’t know what the state is going to do. Is that an uncertainty you’re willing to bear?

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  1. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc
    @Metalheaddoc

    Need to compare and contrast. What is the position of the other GOP candidates? Has there been some sort of effort to revert Federal lands back to the states? Has Cruz, Rubio or Paul sponsored legislation to do that? If not, they seem perfectly willing to allow the Fed to control most of the west. This is like bashing Trump for pandering to the ethanol subsidies in Iowa. Everybody does/did that except Cruz.

    • #1
  2. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Metalheaddoc:Need to compare and contrast. What is the position of the other GOP candidates? Has there been some sort of effort to revert Federal lands back to the states? Has Cruz, Rubio or Paul sponsored legislation to do that? If not, they seem perfectly willing to allow the Fed to control most of the west. This is like bashing Trump for pandering to the ethanol subsidies in Iowa. Everybody does/did that except Cruz.

    Cruz does his fair share of ethanol pandering. The only difference is he brought Iowa the $19 mixed bouquet from the grocery store while the rest of them brought a dozen long stem roses from the florist.

    I am not aware of any candidate addressing the issue so your comment seems appropriate.

    There seems to be a lot of the kind of criticism JL levels at Trump. A political author criticizes Trump for a certain statement or position and only to reveal later it is analogous to the rest of the field.

    Reminds me of a comment elsewhere.

    NR to Trump: You are not conservative

    Everyone else: Neither are you.

    • #2
  3. Liz Member
    Liz
    @Liz

    Paul has said that he would turn public lands over to the States. (The “Twitchy” article has a quote.)

    I just did a quick search and found: Cruz tried to attach an amendment to a sportsmen’s bill, which would limit Federal land management to 50% in any state, and would require them to sell off the excess. Rubio has said the government controls too much land, and should sell some.

    Here are a few links:

    http://www.reviewjournal.com/politics/elections/rand-paul-nevada-speech-favors-federal-land-transfer-states

    http://www.cruz.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=1502

    http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/elections/presidential/caucus/2016/01/06/rubio-review-federal-land-consider-selling/78369280/

    • #3
  4. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    I trust DT more than terry mcauliffe

    • #4
  5. PsychLynne Inactive
    PsychLynne
    @PsychLynne

    James Lileks:DT had a chat with Field and Stream. Twitchy:

    The GOP front-runner came out against letting states control public lands now run by the federal government saying, “I don’t like the idea because I want to keep the lands great, and you don’t know what the state is going to do.”

    Isn’t that a quote from the Federalist Papers?….sigh

    • #5
  6. Liz Member
    Liz
    @Liz

    Guru, could you expand on that?

    • #6
  7. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Liz:Guru, could you expand on that?

    The thesis is that DT is ridiculous because he is interested in keeping and improving federal lands, and likely, because it is trump, improve the management.  The alternative being considered is allowing state management of the land.  Since my sitting governor is a top rank crook, I trust DT with the land than I do the state of Virginia.  Since my governor is an unscrupulous weasel, I am at best agnostic between state or federal management of the land.  As such an implication of unreasonableness or ridiculousness for a preference for federal land is unwarranted, given the proposed alternatives and the distribution of unsavory characters.

    Consider Niagara Falls.  It is one of the most depressing places on earth.  A kind of desperate cheerfulness.  We have an awesome federal park there, and everything else good is on the canadian side.  Lets game out these alternatives.  What does Andrew Cuomo do with the park?  Does he allow trump to build a top flight hotel (lets say where the existing restaurant is overlooking the falls) so upper middle class people stay on the US side of the border and buy kitchy stuff from US vendors down town?  Or does he remove the restaurant from the park, add a code of conduct saying that you wont microaggress the black squirells (there are black squirells), and put up signs about tesla’s deep misogny due to his lifetime of celibacy?

    • #7
  8. Liz Member
    Liz
    @Liz

    I think the issue comes into play mostly in western States where the Federal government owns majorities of the land. This is not the case in Virginia, or anywhere in the East.

    But still, you’re right, Guru. Some states would do a terrible job. However, States are by nature much closer to the citizenry, and therefore much easier for the citizens to hold accountable. The BLM is completely out of anyone’s reach.

    Also, as always happens when States are allowed administrative freedom, people will vote with their feet. If ranchers, for example, find Wyoming is terrible but Idaho is competent, they will move to Idaho. As it stands now, they have no choice at all.

    • #8
  9. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Liz:I think the issue comes into play mostly in western States where the Federal government owns majorities of the land. This is not the case in Virginia, or anywhere in the East.

    But still, you’re right, Guru. Some states would do a terrible job. However, States are by nature much closer to the citizenry, and therefore much easier for the citizens to hold accountable. The BLM is completely out of anyone’s reach.

    Also, as always happens when States are allowed administrative freedom, people will vote with their feet. If ranchers, for example, find Wyoming is terrible but Idaho is competent, they will move to Idaho. As it stands now, they have no choice at all.

    No they won’t.  Especially on the land issue.  The people doing the voting aren’t the people dealing with the land issues.  NYC is never going to vote to develop Niagara Falls.  All accountability will be is that anybody with 2 brain cells will continue to leave western NY except the people too high or too old to leave.  Just like today.  Nothing gets better.  There are only 2 states where the people likely to deal with land issues have an electoral advantage.

    • #9
  10. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Less than 2% of Texas is federal land. Hasn’t worked out so bad.

    • #10
  11. Matthew Gilley Inactive
    Matthew Gilley
    @MatthewGilley

    “Okay, let me take my little hammer here and check your reflexes … still jumping!”

    • #11
  12. Chris Johnson Inactive
    Chris Johnson
    @user_83937

    One problem with federal management is that we DO know what they will do.  For example, under natural conditions, forests face periodic fire events that tend to control underbrush and restore nutrients to the soil.  Federally managed forests place a premium on fire prevention, plus there is a boutique interest in allowing the deadfall to decompose slowly to provide habitat for saprophytes, or those that eat dead vegetation.  As such, when fires do reach federal forests, they become intense and unmanageable; they become so hot that even fire-adapted species are killed.  Typically, state-managed forests are better at implementing regular and well managed “prescribed burns,” resulting in less intense natural fires, as the fuel levels have been reduced.

    Also, if you look at the management plans on federal lands, an extraordinary emphasis is now placed on combatting climate change.  Unfortunately, that just means the prioritization of great silliness.  After all, any silly management goal can be attached to combatting climate change.  Where do stake-holders and state residents go to seek rational oversight of these federal management plans?  When it comes to oversight of federal management of lands, (as with fisheries), you will not find it from your elected representatives in Washington, D.C.  State and regional managements of such resources tend to be more accountable.

    • #12
  13. Patrick Chiles Inactive
    Patrick Chiles
    @PatrickChiles

    “Don’t know what the state is going to do?” And here I thought it just meant I could move to another state if I didn’t like what they were doing. Silly me. Thanks for clearing that up, Don.

    • #13
  14. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    If McCauliffe can’t be trusted to manage state lands then that is great incentive for Virginians to get more involved in their state government and elections and ensure only trustworthy leaders are in place. That isn’t a bug in federalism, it is a key feature.

    • #14
  15. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Liz, Thanks for #3.

    • #15
  16. Liz Member
    Liz
    @Liz

    Guru, I think you mean Niagara is a state park. Do you think the Federal government would do better? At the moment New York has a choice in how to handle the land. You don’t like the choices it’s made so far. Fair enough. But isn’t that life in a constitutional federal republic?

    What about the further point Lileks makes: if Trump supports Federal control of public lands, how is he going to act with regard to schools, healthcare, guns, etc.?

    • #16
  17. Liz Member
    Liz
    @Liz

    My pleasure, Brent.

    • #17
  18. Matthew Gilley Inactive
    Matthew Gilley
    @MatthewGilley

    Liz:What about the further point Lileks makes: if Trump supports Federal control of public lands, how is he going to act with regard to schools, healthcare, guns, etc.?

    A thousand thanks – it was getting to the point I couldn’t take it anymore.  This post is not about federal land management – it’s about Trump’s attitude toward federalism, and how this one quote suggests (strongly, in my view) that his approach to federalism is far out of whack (if you’re a conservative, that is).

    • #18
  19. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Thanks for bringing that to our attention. The Clinton Crime Family will be much more supportive of states rights than Donald Trump.

    • #19
  20. Muleskinner Member
    Muleskinner
    @Muleskinner

    Guruforhire: Since my governor is an unscrupulous weasel…

    Is that species related to the bane of my existence, the rent-seeking weasel?

    • #20
  21. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    A House member from Cruz’s district, Ted Poe, sponsored legislation to put federal lands up for sale and direct the revenue toward the public debt. The legislation went nowhere. This is not a priority of Republicans generally, whatever the candidates’ proclivities.

    But it’s a point well made.

    All of the leading candidates are running on management rather than repeal and reversion. We are stuck with big government until eliminating programs and agencies entirely becomes a popular rallying cry.

    • #21
  22. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    I don’t want to say that I’m torn between state & federal management-there are examples of failure and relative success with each.

    Have to admit that when I’m in New York and see Niagara Falls and see one of the worlds great wonders is backdrop to casinos, t-shirt shops and kitschy crap stores, I’m reluctant to surrender to local entities. I’m not a Trump fan but what/how could similar crony developers steam roll a local government into spoiling something truly unique? Imagine what kind of yuge, classy hotel or golf course he’d build by Yosemite or Grand Canyon.

    That’s not meant to preclude gaming, grazing, timber and mineral harvesting – just that it’s more complex than state vs federal.

    • #22
  23. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    BrentB67:If McCauliffe can’t be trusted to manage state lands then that is great incentive for Virginians to get more involved in their state government and elections and ensure only trustworthy leaders are in place. That isn’t a bug in federalism, it is a key feature.

    Thats super awesome to say, but tell me how that actually works?  A little while ago we wanted to mine uranium and it would have been a huge boon to the local rural economies.  It got shut down by some government agency somewhere.  Lets say that this was a state agency.  How do I get all the urban liberals to go along with this?  What does “getting more involved” get me?  Nobody cares about the rural economies, its an abstraction.  People will through dumb hick meth addicted rednecks on the bonfire of their urban/suburban vanity every single time.

    • #23
  24. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    Liz:Guru, I think you mean Niagara is a state park. Do you think the Federal government would do better? At the moment New York has a choice in how to handle the land. You don’t like the choices it’s made so far. Fair enough. But isn’t that life in a constitutional federal republic?

    What about the further point Lileks makes: if Trump supports Federal control of public lands, how is he going to act with regard to schools, healthcare, guns, etc.?

    Probably not indicative of much of anything.

    If its a state park, and I could be wrong, it only makes my case stronger.

    • #24
  25. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Guru, nobody ever promised you that government of, by, and for the people is going to be easy and fun.

    • #25
  26. Retail Lawyer Member
    Retail Lawyer
    @RetailLawyer

    I admit my first reaction was to agree with DT on this.  You see, I live in California, where Jerry Brown is our firewall against most other politicians yammering about the undocumented, the at risk, the gender vague, and global warming.  Everybody and every cause needs more money, now!  God help us when he’s gone.  Santa Cruz once actually moved its homeless into nearby State Parks!  Did not work out well, but it would have if only we tried harder, said one homeless advocate, Ms. Riverwoman.  Is it not conservative to think hard about changing long established arrangements?

    • #26
  27. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    Trump said it so it must be right and good. By all means, let’s keep as much land in federal hands as possible. While we’re at it, why not encourage the federal government to regulate the rest of the land it doesn’t own, since we can’t trust the states to do it in a way that will keep the lands great?

    • #27
  28. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    BrentB67:Guru, nobody ever promised you that government of, by, and for the people is going to be easy and fun.

    That’s exactly my point, and why I am outcome independent on the issue.  There is no clear benefit, its strategically worthless to actively harmful, and tactically impossible.

    I would rather die on the hill of raising the retirement age.

    • #28
  29. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    BrentB67:Less than 2% of Texas is federal land. Hasn’t worked out so bad.

    It’s Texas. The grown-ups are in charge.

    Seawriter

    • #29
  30. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Guruforhire: A little while ago we wanted to mine uranium and it would have been a huge boon to the local rural economies. It got shut down by some government agency somewhere. Lets say that this was a state agency.

    Hold on — that was a State law, and Virginia Uranium was the one who argued that the federal government should overrule state law. That was shot down, and now they’re appealing to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. So your argument is that the federal government should be able to overturn state law on a matter like this? That states should not to make decisions like this without federal interference?

    • #30

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