FACT-CHECKING THE DEBATE ON FEDERAL LAND TRANSFER
IN CONGRESS AND AROUND CAMPFIRES, Americans are debating the fate of federal public lands—640 million acres of national forests, wildlife refuges, and parks. Some politicians and special-interest groups say that Congress should dump these lands by transferring them over to individual states.
Proponents of transfer say that state governments can do a better job of managing public lands than the federal government can, and that states would better utilize natural resources to bolster local economies. Opponents argue that transferring lands to the states is just a step toward privatization and would jeopardize the country’s natural treasures. Plus, it could lock sportsmen and women out of the best public hunting and fishing in the country.
In hopes of demystifying the debate, we examined claims from both sides about why federal public land should, or shouldn’t, be transferred to the states. Here’s what’s legit, and what’s not.