For those not paying close attention to politicians over the last couple of years — at this point many of us would actually like to completely ignore the political circus — there are a group of D.C. elites attempting to swindle the American people of their land.
The effort is led by a couple of robber baron, Utah Representatives Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz, vocal opponents of public lands for some time. Chaffetz is now sponsoring a bill to sell 3.3 million acres of the people’s land that he deems “suitable for disposal.” For context, 3.3 million acres is roughly 5,100 square miles or an area the size of Connecticut.
The full text of H.R.621 is not yet available though this summary offers a glimpse of the rubbish to follow:
H.R.621 – To direct the Secretary of the Interior to sell certain Federal lands in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming, previously identified as suitable for disposal, and for other purposes.
According to polls, residents of the state of Utah seem fairly evenly split on the issue of public land transfer. But Utahns must recognize that being residents of the state and stewards of the area, they are not the sole owners. This land is owned by all Americans and managed on our behalf by good people in the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and National Parks.
Both national polls and those in key western states point to a solid majority of Americans firmly against any transfer of public lands.
It’s time to let your representatives know your thoughts on this issue. Do not let your opinion go unheard while your land is quietly sold to the highest bidder. If you are a hiker, mountain biker, nature photographer, camper, hunter, fisher or outdoorsmen this issue will define the future of access to wild places in this country.
Be sure to add your name to the Sportsmen’s Access Petition.
Also contact Representatives Chaffetz and Bishop directly to make them aware of your opposition.
(Chaffetz’s social media feeds are currently being consumed by #keepitpublic sentiments. Bishop seems too disconnected to actively participate in social discourse.)
**UPDATE: February 2, 2017
After receiving a landslide of criticism across the entire political spectrum, Representative Chaffetz has wisely decided to withdraw his land transfer bill.