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North Dakota Senate Race - Public Lands


Aug 23, 2013
Beartooths, Montana
I emailed both offices of Kevin Cramer and Heidi Heitkamp and asked about their stance on public land transfers. Here's the response from Heidi Heitkamp's office. I've yet to hear back from Cramer. If I do get a response, I will post it.


Thank you for contacting me about our nation's public lands. It was good to hear from you.

I appreciate hearing your concerns with selling federal lands for private use or transferring them to state ownership. Enjoying the outdoors has always been a part of life in North Dakota, and for many families getting together and visiting our public lands to go hunting, fishing, birding, and camping is a tradition. While nearly two-thirds of the 1.8 billion acres of land acquired through the Louisiana Purchase, purchase of Alaska, claims ceded by the original 13 states to the federal government, and other treaties have been transferred to states and private ownership; approximately 640 million acres are currently managed by the federal government. According to an economic report published by the Interior Department in 2015, which collectively manages over 65 percent of our federal lands, estimated there were 443 million visitors to Interior-managed lands, which supported nearly 396,000 jobs, and generated $45 billion in economic output. It’s our responsibility to make sure these natural resources, wilderness areas, and cultural sites remain available for future generations.

As you may know, on June 29, 2018, Senator Lee (R-UT) outlined three bills he plans on introducing that would, among other things, transfer or sale of public lands to a state, local government, or tribe. First, Senator Lee outlined a bill – which has since been introduced on July 11, as the Protect Utah's Rural Economy Act (S. 3193) – that amend the Antiquities Act by requiring state legislatures and Congress to pass legislation approving future national monument designations in Utah. Under the Antiquities Act, the president is authorized to create national monuments on federally-owned land which is of cultural, historic, or scientific interest. This bill has since been referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for further consideration. Second, Senator Lee outlined a bill described as “a new Homestead Act,” which would use federal lands to enable local governments to support affordable housing projects, education, health care, or research. While this idea has yet to be put forward as legislation, it is my understanding that these projects would be financed through the sale of federal lands. Lastly, the goal of Senator Lee’s third bill – which has yet to be introduced – would be to facilitate the “the transfer of federal lands to the states.”

Our public lands are some of our country's greatest treasures, and we must work to ensure that future generations are able to enjoy them for years to come. While I believe it is important that setting aside further public lands be thoroughly debated in an open and transparent process, we must maintain our nation’s public areas that provide outdoor enthusiasts access to the abundant recreational opportunities in our state. Please know that I will keep your thoughts in mind should these bills or similar legislation be considered by the full Senate.

Again, thank you for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any additional questions or concerns in the future.


Heidi Heitkamp
United States Senate

Straight Arrow

Well-known member
Jun 10, 2009
Gallatin Gateway, MT
Are you able to translate that political double talk? 'Good information regarding pending and potential legislation ... but what is Sen Heitkamp's position today regarding PLT???