The story of Cliven Bundy and his fight over public land control hardly needs introduction, which is why Senator Paul met with Bundy on a recent tour of Nevada. The Federal Government owns over 80 percent of all land in Nevada; in fact the Feds own massive amounts of western land, a 19th Century legacy that has served its purpose.
Public land control has long been a divisive issue in the West, with the Bureau of Land Management(BLM) or related agencies being seen as the devil incarnate at worst, and a neutral pest at best. Time and time again, as is seen with Cliven Bundy and many others, out of state Federal paper pushers dictate land use policies that would be better left to the local folks on the ground who know and live on and love the land. In an interview with the AP, Senator Paul states that he believes nearly all land use issues need to be handled “at the state level.”
Rand Paul of course is correct. Right now, what America needs is to have its lands managed by the people who use it. The Federal Government no longer has a vested interest in managing massive tracts of land, in fact We the People have a vested interest in getting the Feds OUT of the land management business.
When a state cannot even control all the public land within its borders, everyone loses. Ranchers, miners and recreational users are held up at the mercy of a distant and disinterested Federal bureaucracy that is often driven by political agendas rather than sound management principals. Senator Paul recognizes this and in a world where an armed standoff over a few head of cattle can happen, rightly calls for giving states control over the land within their borders.
Public land control is not just about who controls land, but it is about what role the states play in charting their own destiny, it is about putting power back into the hands of local and state government and doing away with Big Government. It is the height of absurdity to consider that nearly all the land in Nevada is not even under local control, or that the same story is repeated across the west. The states sit helpless to the whims of the Feds in controlling what happens on most of the land within their own borders. It is long past time to put states in control of their own land. Should the Federal Government continue to manage and own massive amounts of land? Where do the states come in on all of this? Tell us on Twitter or Facebook.
(Photo courtesy of Andrew Turner, Flickr CC BY 2.0)
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