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Should the federal government divest itself of land in the West?

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  • Should the federal government divest itself of land in the West?

    Given the events in Oregon, I think the question needs greater public exposure. Should the federal government be required / forced to divest itself of much of its land holdings in the Western US. For most of the Western US government, primarily federal, owns 45 to 95% of the land. That's in contrast to the 1 to 5% owned in the East.

    Until recently, most of this land was barely managed, if at all, by any federal agency. Ranchers and others could pretty much use it without interference. But, in the last 20 or so years the federal government has greatly increased enforcement of rules and laws that up until then they ignored. One reason for this is the agencies involved now want all the funding they can get and one way to do that is enforce obscure rules and laws on land management.

    Also, environmentalists have stepped up their efforts to get the government to make all this land essentially lie unused and fallow, forever if possible.

    So, should the government sell off most of this land for private use?
    34
    Yes, they should
    61.76%
    21
    No, they shouldn't
    38.24%
    13

    The poll is expired.


  • #2
    May I ask, how did the Federal Government come to own so much? a hangover from the expansion west?
    ------
    'I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.' - Thomas Jefferson

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    • #3
      Yes, essentially. The land was taken / bought by the federal government originally. Very little of was in private hands prior to that happening. For much of US history it really had little observable value so the feds just hung onto it.
      Now, with the population expanding in the US and more potential uses seen for this land, as well as new development techniques, it does have value and potentially could be a big revenue generator far beyond leasing it to mining or ranching interests.

      Comment


      • #4
        You mean should they give in to the demands of domestic terrorist? No. Had their approach been more civilized maybe this would be a discussion to be had.
        "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
        - Benjamin Franklin

        The new right wing: hate Muslims, preaches tolerance for Nazis.

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        • #5
          I say no because there is a system of buying the land by citizens. Just stake a claim and its yours really cheaply if you can prove that its a sustainable claim.


          http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/res/public_room_.html
          Credo quia absurdum.


          Quantum mechanics describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And yet it fully agrees with experiment. So I hope you can accept nature as She is - absurd! - Richard Feynman

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          • #6
            No. If you sell off the western lands to private developers we will end up with more crappy subdivisions and strip malls leading to eastern style (or worse, California) politics. If anything I would suggest people living east of the Rockies should shut the f up about western issues such as water and grazing rights. The BLM is messed up enough, we don't need easterners tossing in their unneeded two cents.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Bwaha View Post
              I say no because there is a system of buying the land by citizens. Just stake a claim and its yours really cheaply if you can prove that its a sustainable claim.


              http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/res/public_room_.html
              Land sales are rare and almost never in the publics best interest. See most ski areas as an example. In exchange for land use, most developers build outrageously overpriced condos that end up pushing out day users and jacking up prices.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                Yes, essentially. The land was taken / bought by the federal government originally. Very little of was in private hands prior to that happening. For much of US history it really had little observable value so the feds just hung onto it.
                Now, with the population expanding in the US and more potential uses seen for this land, as well as new development techniques, it does have value and potentially could be a big revenue generator far beyond leasing it to mining or ranching interests.
                The increase in our population isn't moving into Federal owned wilderness. Western counties of KS and NE have less population now than at the turn of the century, the 19th that is

                So who is going to go there? Miners, loggers and oil. They have to much in their history that once the land is used they don't really leave it in a very good shape.
                ranchers and farmers perhaps. Ranchers, both cattle and sheep might make use of it but how many sqm do we need for each head of live stock?
                "Ask not what your country can do for you"

                Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

                you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

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                • #9
                  Some reference material...


                  How the West Is Owned


                  by FRANK JACOBS

                  [...]

                  This map, depicting the distribution and share of federal land per state, was first published on this blog way back in 2008. Nevertheless, it keeps accumulating comments and hits at a steady pace, and is still frequently shared around. Unlike hundreds of other random maps, this one has become a perennial. That raises an interesting question for map geeks like yours truly: Which nerve, exactly, does this map strike with the Great Online Public?



                  Let's start with the most obvious answer: the map is stunningly effective at bringing home its message. And that message is: Federal land ownership out west is huge.

                  [...]

                  What is all that federal land for? And exactly who is in charge? According to the Congressional Research Service [4], a total area of just under 610 million acres – more than twice the size of Namibia – is administered by no more than 4 federal government agencies:

                  * The United States Forest Service (USFS), which oversees timber harvesting, recreation, wildlife habitat protection and other sustainable uses on a total of 193 million acres – almost the size of Turkey – mainly designated as National Forests.

                  * The National Park Service (NPS) conserves lands and resources on 80 million acres – a Norway-sized area – in order to preserve them for the public. Any harvesting or resource removal is generally prohibited.

                  * the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), managing 248 million acres [5] – an area the size of Egypt – has a multiple-use, sustained-yield mandate, supporting energy development, recreation, grazing, conservation, and other uses.

                  * the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) manages 89 million acres – an area slightly bigger than Germany – to conserve and protect animal and plant species.

                  [...]


                  http://bigthink.com/strange-maps/291...ands-in-the-us


                  Historical Background


                  Federal lands and resources have been important in American history, adding to the strength and stature of the federal government, serving as an attraction and opportunity for settlement and economic development, and providing a source of revenue for schools, transportation, national defense, and other national, state, and local needs.

                  The formation of the U.S. federal government was particularly influenced by the struggle for control over what were then known as the “western” lands—the lands between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River that were claimed by the original colonies. The original states reluctantly ceded the lands to the developing new government. This cession, together with granting constitutional powers to the new federal government, including the authority to regulate federal property and to create new states, played a crucial role in transforming the weak central government under the Articles of Confederation into a stronger, centralized federal government under the U.S. Constitution.

                  Subsequent federal land laws reflected two visions: reserving some federal lands (such as for national forests and national parks) and selling or otherwise disposing of other lands to raise money or to encourage transportation, development, and settlement. From the earliest days, these policy views took on East/West overtones, with easterners more likely to view the lands as national public property, and westerners more likely to view the lands as necessary for local use and development. Most agreed, however, on measures that promoted settlement of the lands to pay soldiers, to reduce the national debt, and to strengthen the nation. This settlement trend accelerated with federal acquisition of additional territory through the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the Oregon Compromise with England in 1846, and cession of lands by treaty after the Mexican War in 1848.

                  In the mid to late 1800s, Congress enacted numerous laws to encourage and accelerate the settlement of the West by disposing of federal lands. Examples include the Homestead Act of 1862 and the Desert Lands Entry Act of 1877. Approximately 1.29 billion acres of public domain land was transferred out of federal ownership between 1781 and 2013. The total included transfers of 816 million acres to private ownership (individuals, railroads, etc.), 328 million acres to states generally, and 143 million acres in Alaska under state and Native selection laws.5 Most transfers to private ownership (97%) occurred before 1940; homestead entries, for example, peaked in 1910 at 18.3 million acres but dropped below 200,000 acres annually after 1935, until being fully eliminated in 1986.

                  Although some earlier laws had protected some lands and resources, such as salt deposits and certain timber for military use, new laws in the late 1800s reflected the growing concern that rapid development threatened some of the scenic treasures of the nation, as well as resources that would be needed for future use. A preservation and conservation movement evolved to ensure that certain lands and resources were left untouched or reserved for future use. For example, Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872 to preserve its resources in a natural condition, and to dedicate recreation opportunities for the public. It was the world’s first national park,7 and like the other early parks, Yellowstone was protected by the U.S. Army—primarily from poachers of wildlife or timber. In 1891, concern over the effects of timber harvests on water supplies and downstream flooding led to the creation of forest reserves (renamed national forests in 1907).

                  Emphasis shifted during the 20th century from the disposal and conveyance of title to private citizens to the retention and management of the remaining federal lands. During debates on the 1934 Taylor Grazing Act, some western Members of Congress acknowledged the poor prospects for relinquishing federal lands to the states, but language included in the act left disposal as a possibility. It was not until the enactment of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA)8 that Congress expressly declared that the remaining public domain lands generally would remain in federal ownership.9 This declaration of permanent federal land ownership was a significant factor in what became known as the Sagebrush Rebellion, an effort that started in the late 1970s to provide state or local control over federal land and management decisions. Currently, there is renewed interest in some western states in assuming ownership of some federal lands within their borders. This interest stems in part from concerns about the extent, condition, and cost of federal land ownership and the type and amount of land uses and revenue derived from federal lands.10 To date, judicial challenges and legislative and executive efforts generally have not resulted in broad changes to the level of federal ownership. Current authorities for acquiring and disposing of federal lands are unique to each agency.11

                  [...]

                  https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42346.pdf
                  Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Naffenea View Post
                    No. If you sell off the western lands to private developers we will end up with more crappy subdivisions and strip malls leading to eastern style (or worse, California) politics. If anything I would suggest people living east of the Rockies should shut the f up about western issues such as water and grazing rights. The BLM is messed up enough, we don't need easterners tossing in their unneeded two cents.
                    The land doesn't necessarily have to be sold to private developers. However, most of it should be ceded to the States in which it is located.

                    The single biggest problem with Federal control is access to resources. Since the 1970's the Federal government has become more focused on the prevention of resource development than the management of it.

                    Alaska is the prime example. Federal regulatory malfeasance will soon force the Trans Alaska Pipeline System to prematurely shut in. Once it is shut in, the law stipulates that it be dismantled.
                    Obama’s Trans-Alaska Oil Assault
                    He’s slowly starving the current pipeline so it will have to shut down.


                    Jan. 26, 2015 7:49 p.m. ET

                    Washington’s energy debate has been focused on President Obama ’s endless opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, but maybe that was only a warm-up. His new fossil fuel shutdown target is Alaska.

                    President Obama announced Sunday that he’ll use his executive authority to designate 12 million acres in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) as wilderness, walling it off from resource development. This abrogates a 1980 deal in which Congress specifically set aside some of this acreage for future oil and gas exploration. It’s also a slap at the new Republican Congress, where Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski has been corralling bipartisan support for more Arctic drilling.

                    [...]

                    The ANWR blockade also seems to be part of a larger strategy to starve the existing Trans-Alaska pipeline, the 800-mile system that carries oil south from state lands in Prudhoe Bay.

                    [...]

                    The political prize here is the death of the Alaska oil pipeline, which in its heyday pushed some 2.2 million barrels of oil south a day, but has seen volume slow to 500,000 barrels a day as the state’s existing oil fields decline. The drop in oil prices has increased financial pressure on Arctic drillers, and any lower flow threatens the viability of the pipeline.

                    This is what environmentalists want because they know that if the pipeline shuts down, it must by law be dismantled. Since the pipeline is the only way to get large quantities of Alaskan oil south, shutting it down means closing to exploration one of the world’s greatest repositories of hydrocarbons.


                    http://www.wsj.com/articles/obamas-t...ult-1422319740

                    Once TAPS shuts down, about 30 billion barrels of oil and 137 trillion cubic feet of natural gas will become permanently stranded under Alaska and its OCS.

                    • The Trans Alaska Pipeline System’s (TAPS) minimum flow rate of about 300,000 barrels of oil per day will be reached in 2025, absent new developments or reserves growth beyond the forecasted technically remaining reserves. An Alaska gas pipeline and gas sales from the Point Thomson field and the associated oil and condensate would provide another boost to oil production and extend the life of TAPS for about one year to 2026. A shut down of TAPS would potentially strand about 1 billion barrels of oil reserves from the fields analyzed.

                    Page ix

                    • For the complete study interval from 2005 to 2050, the forecasts of economically recoverable oil and gas additions, including reserves growth in known fields, is 35 to 36 billion barrels of oil and 137 trillion cubic feet of gas. These optimistic estimates assume continued high oil and gas prices, stable fiscal policies, and all areas open for exploration and development. For this optimistic scenario, the productive life of the Alaska North Slope would be extended well beyond 2050 and could potentially result in the need to refurbish TAPS and add capacity to the gas pipeline.

                    • The forecasts become increasingly pessimistic if the assumptions are not met as illustrated by the following scenarios.
                    1. If the ANWR 1002 area is removed from consideration, the estimated economically recoverable oil is 29 to 30 billion barrels of oil and 135 trillion cubic feet of gas.

                    2. Removal of ANWR 1002 and the Chukchi Sea OCS results in a further reduction to 19 to 20 billion barrels of oil and 85 trillion cubic feet of gas.

                    3. Removal of ANWR 1002, Chukchi Sea OCS, and the Beaufort Sea OCS results in a reduction to 15 to 16 billion barrels of oil and 65 trillion cubic feet of gas.

                    4. Scenario 3 and no gas pipeline reduces the estimate to 9 to 10 billion barrels of oil (any gas discovered will likely remain stranded).

                    Some combination of these hypothetical scenarios is more likely to occur than the optimistic estimates.

                    Page viii

                    https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/vi...tional-energy-

                    Unchecked, Maobama's latest malfeasance will cause 1, 2 and 3 to occur. Nearly half of the undiscovered resource potential in the USA lies beneath lands and waters affected by this perfidious action.



                    TAPS operating lifetime is entirely dependent on an economic flow of oil. It started flowing in 1977 and is expected to remain in operation until the mid-21st century if ANWR and the OCS are fully opened to drilling.

                    The rate of oil moved through the pipeline has nothing to do with oil prices. It has been entirely dependent on the performance of Prudhoe Bay and other North Slope fields. Production peaked in 1988 and has steadily declined since then, irrespective of prices.

                    http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/Lea...s=MANFPAK2&f=M

                    If ANWR and the other areas are not opened soon, TAPS will reach its economic limit in about 10 years. If all of those areas are opened up, it will remain in operation until at least 2050.

                    The economic flow rate is not dictated by prices either. Below about 300,000 bopd, the pipeline will not flow in winter, without massive modifications, due to hydrates and parafins.
                    Last edited by The Doctor; 05 Jan 16, 15:56.
                    Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TactiKill J. View Post
                      You mean should they give in to the demands of domestic terrorist? No. Had their approach been more civilized maybe this would be a discussion to be had.
                      No, I mean should they sell off much of the land they hold to private parties or state interests rather than hold it at the federal level. The government could make billions off such a sale and then states would be able to generate tax revenue off the land as well as private interests actually doing something useful with it.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Half Pint John View Post
                        The increase in our population isn't moving into Federal owned wilderness. Western counties of KS and NE have less population now than at the turn of the century, the 19th that is
                        Well, that's because they can't. I'm willing to bet they would if they could get that land in private hands.

                        So who is going to go there? Miners, loggers and oil. They have to much in their history that once the land is used they don't really leave it in a very good shape.
                        ranchers and farmers perhaps. Ranchers, both cattle and sheep might make use of it but how many sqm do we need for each head of live stock?
                        All good with me. There are laws regarding mining, logging, etc., that companies would have to follow unlike the federal government who can and does get away with all sorts of egregious behavior. Look at the EPA mess in Colorado. If that were a private company it'd be looking at billions in fines right now. The EPA? "Opps, we goofed. We're sorry..."

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TactiKill J. View Post
                          You mean should they give in to the demands of domestic terrorist? No. Had their approach been more civilized maybe this would be a discussion to be had.
                          He didn't say give the land to the guys in the siege. He just said divest itself if the land. You need to be less emotional and approach this practically.

                          All things considered, govt. should divest itself of the land. It's better to let private citizens tend to the land and develop it rather than just sitting on it. Unless they have a practical reason to be there they have no reason to be holding it and why burn taxpayer dollars maintaining the land when you can have landowners do it. Less tax money spent and private landowners have the motivation to take better care of it.
                          A new life awaits you in the off world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

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                          • #14
                            Maybe the Feds would start selling if they had to pay local property taxes?

                            Pruitt
                            Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                            Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                            by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Pirateship1982 View Post
                              He didn't say give the land to the guys in the siege. He just said divest itself if the land. You need to be less emotional and approach this practically.

                              All things considered, govt. should divest itself of the land. It's better to let private citizens tend to the land and develop it rather than just sitting on it. Unless they have a practical reason to be there they have no reason to be holding it and why burn taxpayer dollars maintaining the land when you can have landowners do it. Less tax money spent and private landowners have the motivation to take better care of it.
                              I understand that. However, part of the reason they're held up in a federal building is over this very issue. If the government gives in they'll appear weak and open the door for similar events. Regardless of who the land is sold to it will go down as a win for those guys which could be very dangerous.
                              "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
                              - Benjamin Franklin

                              The new right wing: hate Muslims, preaches tolerance for Nazis.

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