There is a new bill in the United States Congress that would sell off 3.3 million acres of public lands. Utah Rep Jason Chaffetz, yeah that guy, introduced a bill that identifies 3.3 million acres across 10 states to be ‘disposed of.’ Recently, the House passed a new rule in a rules package that now has the Congressional Budget Office officially considering public lands to have no monetary value. Given the breathtaking photos of federal land on his official website you would think he would be a champion of such lands, with the words “As a congressional delegation, we value our public lands, and we want to do everything we can to protect them. Bears Ears is no exception.”H.R. 621 flies in the face of that impression.
- UPDATE: Rep. Chaffetz just announced he will be withdrawing H.R. 621 after intense rejection by the people! “I hear you,” he said today.
- A new bill in the Senate was introduced that is of significant importance, S. 164, is aimed at stripping ESA protections from wolves so that less land will be protected. Wolves require large stretches of land and currently, the protections offered to wolf populations in the U.S. put the land off limits to oil and gas interests. Call your Senator today and oppose S. 164!
Congress can say they have no monetary value, but we know better.
“National Parks, Monuments, and programs are worth $92 billion, not including 560 national wildlife refuges, 150-some national forests and more than 200 sites in the Bureau of Land Management’s National Conservation Lands system.”– The Wilderness Society
A study titled Total Economic Valuation of the National Park Service Lands and Programs: Results of a Survey of the American Public found that our public lands are actually highly valuable in a monetary sense.
“Our estimate of the total economic value to the American public is $92 billion. Two-thirds of this total ($62 billion) is for National Park lands, waters and historic sites; the remaining $30 billion is attributed to NPS Programs.” – Total Economic Valuation of the National Park Service Lands and Programs
They also found that ‘nearly 95% of responding households indicated that protecting National Parks, including historic sites, for current and future generations was important to them,’ and that 72% of voters in western states are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports selling public lands even to reduce the budget deficit. Before you assume this is a study of hardcore democrats or tree-hugging leftists, only 9.21% of those surveyed self-identified were leaning democratic, and 14.83% were mostly democratic. The majority of respondents were a bit more conservative, 17.39% were leaning republican and 23.27% were mostly republican. 21.99% self-identified as completely independent. (Table 6, pg15)
Clearly, there is a steadfast bipartisan support for our public lands. This is unequivocally an issue that breaches partisan divide and the people are largely NOT in favor of selling off our federal lands, and they clearly disagree with Congressional republicans in the $0 valuation.
So, now that we have #Facts out of the way, what can we do about it? How can we prevent these lands from being sold off on the clearance rack?
Find your representative.
Call online at 202-224-3121
Tell them you are against H.R. 621.
Join my campaign to stand up for our National Parks and Monuments!
Total Economic Valuation of the National Park Service Lands and Programs: Results of a Survey of The American Public, Colorado State University, and Harvard University, June 30, 2016.
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., H.R. 621 – 115th Congress (2017-2018), Congress.gov.
In New Mexico, over 800 acres were sold for $3 million to oil and gas drilling near the Chaco Canyon National Park.