U.S. House to Consider Public Land Grab Bills
Just weeks after armed militants were ousted from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, the U.S. House is considering legislation to allow states to seize national forest land for drilling and logging without federal oversight.
Earlier this month, the Wyoming Sportsmen's Alliance and conservation groups convinced state lawmakers to shelve similar proposals.
Chamois Andersen, Executive Director of the Wyoming Wildlife Federation, says western states are on the front lines of a national struggle.
"In Wyoming, we're seeing what's actually happening across the American West, which is a political movement, an attempt to transfer public lands to state ownership or management," said Andersen. "These lands are for all Americans, but if they go away they can be developed."
The U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources will hear the new bills on Thursday. One bill would allow any state to seize up to two million acres of national forest land to be auctioned off for private ownership and resource extraction. A second bill would allow states to seize up to four million acres for clear-cut logging.