Let’s cut down all the trees bills

Tom Banse reports on KUOW:

Republican Congressmen from several Western states are running with a theme that emerged during the recent armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.

A panel of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources Thursday discussed two measures that would let states take over management of large swaths of federal land. The Subcommittee on Federal Lands heard Alaska GOP Congressman Don Young pitch his idea to let states buy national forest land from the federal government to increase timber production.

I saw this via Peter Walker on Facebook, who called them Bundy bills.

The Obama administration sent a deputy chief of the U.S. Forest Service to Thursday’s Congressional hearing to register its opposition.

A sportsmen’s group blasted the proposed bills as misguided and “an affront” that would result in the loss of public access to recreational lands.

“This is the most overt discussion of seizing or selling off public lands to take place on Capitol Hill,” said Whit Fosbergh, president of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “At what point will lawmakers see that this is a non-starter with hunters, anglers, and American families who enjoy public access to outdoor recreation?”

People, just plain people. Not just Americans and not just people traveling as families – people in general, very much including people from outside the US.

Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Niki Tsongas accused the Republican majority on the committee of attempting to “betray” an inter-generational commitment to preservation and multi-use by “ceding authority over federal land” and waiving national environmental laws “to elevate timber production over all other uses.”

“They aim to abandon federal oversight of public lands and allow private interest to determine the future of our national forests,” Tsongas charged.

She also questioned the timing of the Congressional hearing.

“It is particularly troubling that we are considering these bills just two weeks after the end of the armed occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon,” Tsongas said. “At a time like this, we should be working together on bipartisan proposals.”

As opposed to putting forward Bundy bills.


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