Rep Simpson Public Land Stance

smarandr

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 8, 2010
Messages
1,171
Location
East Idaho
We've been tough on our two Idaho senators and our state legislature for their shenanigans relating to the sale of our public lands over the last few weeks, so it's nice to see at least one of our representatives come down on what most of us here think is the right side of the issue.

Dear Andrew:

Thank you for contacting me regarding your views about federal land in Idaho. I appreciate hearing from you and having the opportunity to respond.

Nearly two-thirds of the state of Idaho is federal land, which means that land management decisions made by federal agencies have a direct impact on our state's economy and the lives of Idahoans who live, work, and recreate on or near federal lands. As the Idaho state legislature undertakes efforts to transfer federal land to state control, I understand the concerns of many Idahoans about the need to mitigate the influence that the federal government has over land in Idaho. That being said, I have heard from a number of Idahoans who do not believe this would not be a prudent or fiscally responsible course of action.

In the context of the discussion, I think it is helpful to understand the history of federal land ownership and current policies in place regarding the disposal of federal lands. Most federally-owned land is in Alaska and 11 other western states, including Idaho. Although the federal government did not own the land in the original states of the Union, lands west of the Mississippi were generally acquired by the federal government from foreign governments. The Constitution gives Congress authority over lands owned by the federal government, and Congress has enacted different policies toward federal land throughout our nation's history. Initially it was the policy of the federal government to dispose of land it owned, first to pay for the Revolutionary War and finance the government and later to encourage settlement in the West through homesteading and infrastructure development. During this time the federal government granted 328 million acres to the states, including Idaho.

In the 1960's, Congress's public land policy began to shift away from disposing of land and toward retaining it. In 1976, Congress passed the Federal Land Policy and Management of 1976 (FLPMA), which declared that retaining public lands in federal ownership was the policy of the United States. Although many western states and local governments reacted to this new policy by trying to claim federal land for the states or force the federal government to dispose of its lands, a period known as the "Sagebrush Rebellion," Courts have continually upheld the federal government's constitutional right to retain ownership of federal lands.

Recognizing that states, counties, and individuals have repeatedly been unsuccessful at attempting to assert authority over federal lands, I have worked throughout my time in Congress to ensure that federal land management agencies are good neighbors. For example, I have consistently supported full funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, through which the federal government compensates local governments for the loss of tax income due to the presence of federal land in their state or county. The PILT program is critical to communities throughout Idaho. I am also a strong supporter of funding the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, which was passed in 2000 to provide an alternative source of education funding for counties with a high percentage of national forests or federal land.

In addition, as a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Interior and the Environment, which oversees funding for federal land management agencies like the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the U.S. Forest Service, and the Fish and Wildlife Service, I am constantly encouraging these agencies to work with state and local officials and private individuals when making land management decisions in Idaho. I strongly believe that Idahoans should have a say in how the land on which they work and live is managed, and I will continue to advocate for a strong partnership between federal, state, and local land management agencies.

Once again, thank you for contacting me about this issue. Your thoughts and opinions are important to me as your Representative in the US Congress. Also, I encourage you to visit my website, www.simpson.house.gov, to sign up for my e-newsletter and read about my views on a variety of issues.

Sincerely,

Mike Simpson
Member of Congress
 

James Riley

Banned
Joined
Jan 10, 2015
Messages
1,821
We've been tough on our two Idaho senators and our state legislature for their shenanigans relating to the sale of our public lands over the last few weeks, so it's nice to see at least one of our representatives come down on what most of us here think is the right side of the issue.

I found this double negative interesting: "That being said, I have heard from a number of Idahoans who do not believe this would not be a prudent or fiscally responsible course of action." :D

Also, it seems he's saying that, since efforts to get what he would really like to see have failed so often in the past, he's resigned to getting the next best thing. I guess that's better than the alternative.

I say PILT is hush money well spent. Hell, let's double it and make the beneficiaries even more loving of our Federal Lands.
 

Oak

Expert
Joined
Dec 23, 2000
Messages
13,567
Location
Colorado
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I did not see him say anywhere that he opposes transfer of federal lands to the states.
 

James Riley

Banned
Joined
Jan 10, 2015
Messages
1,821
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I did not see him say anywhere that he opposes transfer of federal lands to the states.

You are not wrong. Further, his abbreviated history of federal lands is sorely lacking.
 

BuzzH

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 9, 2001
Messages
12,947
Location
Laramie, WY
I concur...he didn't come out in opposition, just believes that the transfer cant happen legally.

I'm finding that in personal conversations with State Representatives/Senators, they say the same thing, that the States have no legal authority for the transfer.

My next question is never really answered, which is why are you supporting something that you believe will never happen?

Answer is usually along the lines of "keeping the Feds in check"...lame.

Its funny how the Legislature is claiming that the Federal Land Management Agencies are "
"impossible to work with", and "Don't manage things right", in particular when all I hear from them is constant bashing...and no willingness to work with BLM, FS, NPS, USFWS, Etc.

The rhetoric is out of hand. I listened to Eli Bebout rake the Executive Director of the Wyoming Wildlife Federation, Steve K., over the coals for suggesting that the Legislature start making some attempts to work with the Federal Agencies to resolve the issues through working groups, task forces, etc.

Holy chit...Eli and his cronies hit the roof, saying it was "impossible".

Funny thing is, S.K. worked as a habitat bio, for the WYGF for a long time and said he never had any trouble working with the BLM, FS, etc. to accomplish habitat projects.

Fell on deaf ears...and IMO, that entire Committee, in particular Bebout, should have been reprimanded for their combative and out-right rude behavior in a public committee hearing.

If the behavior displayed by Bebout and his cronies toward Sportsmen is the same as they display toward Federal Land Management Agencies...I can see why they claim the Agencies are "impossible" to work with.

Enough is enough, and these wishy-washy horsechit "responses" aren't convincing me at all...you're either for or against the transfer of public lands.
 

Straight Arrow

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 10, 2009
Messages
4,071
Location
Gallatin Gateway, MT
..you're either for or against the transfer of public lands.
And I agree with Riley, the double negative is even worse than a waffle. Had I received that letter, my demand in response would have been for plain, clear language on position ... or I would say, "How can I not not oppose you in future elections?!"
 

UTK14

Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2014
Messages
43
Better than the response I've received from my state (Utah) senators. I know, no surprise. But here was the response.....


"Dear Mr. Walker:

Thank you for writing about federal and state land ownership in the state of Utah. I welcome the opportunity to respond.

Like you, I truly appreciate and respect the beautiful land we have in Utah. Without question, Utah offers incredible geographic features, natural resources, and landscapes that deserve protection. Unfortunately, the federal management system we have in place to protect these lands is far from perfect. Currently, approximately 67% of Utah lands are federally owned and managed by bureaucrats in Washington, DC. This distant control is often costly and less efficient; at the same time, it mutes the voices of those closest to the land.

As you know, disagreement over public land use is decades old, and efforts to find agreeable solutions must include collaboration between many different stakeholders and their points of view. It is absolutely essential that those overseeing these land-use decisions heed and respect the voice of Utahns. I do not believe that the federal government should be able to arbitrarily dictate how Utah’s lands are managed, and I cannot support legislation or administrative action that does not even seek the input of Utahns. Make no mistake, we have areas in our state that truly need to be protected, but I believe that a top down federal approach to the management of public lands in Utah is not the answer. Moreover, I feel that people who are closer to the land make better stewards of our environment than the federal government.

Our public lands are managed with the philosophy of accommodating multiple uses. This philosophy is not arbitrary, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) follows strict legal guidelines as part of their Multiple-use Mandate. When managing these lands, the BLM should carefully consider the perspectives of all land users. I believe that we need to strike a more balanced approach to public lands, which realizes true multiple use, increased access, and robust local participation.

Please know that I will use my position in the Senate to advocate the best policies that are sensitive to the many views concerning public land use, and I will continue to support policies that empower Utahns with a greater management role over public lands so that land-use decisions can be made at home where they are most effective.

Thank you, again, for contacting me with your comments. If you would like to have regular updates on my work in the U.S. Senate, I encourage you to visit my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter (@SenOrrinHatch).

Your Senator,

Orrin G. Hatch
United States Senator"

I think he missed on a few points:

Federal lands(Either BLM or USFS) have local offices with local people that are tasked with regulating and enforcing their individual spheres of influence. President Obama had nothing to do with closing down your favorite 4 wheeler trail(in most cases). The "managed by bureaucrats in D.C" argument rings hollow to me for this reason. My grandfather made his career in the forest service in Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah and has never set foot in D.C.

I realize there are instances where D.C. overreaches in creation of Monuments, etc., but I believe that given the competing interests, the USFS and BLM do a decent enough job at maintaining multiple use while ultimately protecting and conserving public land. They are in a somewhat untenable position trying to keep everybody happy, and I believe that they do a better job of understanding and applying multiple-use than the state is purporting to do.

Also, the statement that "those who are closer to the land make better stewards than the federal government," is an inherently flawed and unfounded statement. Given any number of economic inputs, locals may not always make decisions that would perpetuate wildlife and wild area conservation. I would love to see locals have more constructive input in the process, but a lot of times it seems like our version of "input" is staging a massive illegal atv ride to prove a point instead of seeking honest discourse early on in the process.

I realize it is mainly a regurgitation of the same story we have heard from most of our lawmakers that support this transfer, but thought I would share anyways.
 

James Riley

Banned
Joined
Jan 10, 2015
Messages
1,821
Orin Hatch says ". . . I believe that a top down federal approach to the management of public lands in Utah is not the answer."

So, trickle down from the collective = bad.
But trickle down from the 1% = good.

Thus, when the State liquidates it's holdings, I can get a job working for those who own and exploit them. At least he's honest. To paraphrase Dennis Miller, if that's not fair warning you are about to get p*ssed on then nothing is.
 
Top