Neighborhood Effects blogger Bob Nelson had an op-ed in Friday’s Salt Lake Tribune arguing that Utah should offer to take control of federal lands in the state:
The largest area of Utah public land, 22.8 million acres, is managed by the Bureau of Land Management in the Interior Department. Another 8.1 million acres is in the national forest system managed by the U.S. Forest Service in the Agriculture Department. On these lands, the most important decisions concern matters such as the number of cows that will be allowed to graze, the levels of timber harvesting, the leasing of land for oil and gas drilling, the prevention and fighting of forest fires and the areas available to off-road recreational vehicles.
Except in Utah and other parts of the American West, where the federal government still holds about half the total land area, such matters are the responsibility of private land owners and of state and local governments. It is time to end this antiquated system which has failed the test of time. Despite the possession of hundreds of millions of acres of land, and vast oil and gas, coal and other valuable mineral resources, the federal lands proved to be a money-losing proposition.
Read the whole thing here.
In 2008, Bob wrote about how local control of federal lands in California can lead to more effective fire management. And, of course, Bob is the author of one of Neighborhood Effects’ all-time most-read posts, wherein he argued that the US Senate is obsolete.