State­ment

“THE UNITED STATES CAN NO LONGER AFFORD TO KEEP TENS OF MIL­LIONS OF ACRES OF ‘PUB­LIC’ LAND LOCKED UP AND OUT OF SER­VICE.”

Outdoor Life - - THE LIFE -

It’s true that some fed­eral land is dif­fi­cult for out­doors­men and women to ac­cess. Fed­eral wilderness areas are off-lim­its to mo­tor­ized ve­hi­cles, and other lands have travel re­stric­tions. Other pub­lic lands are is­lands sur­rounded by pri­vate land. But the no­tion that fed­eral land is “locked up” and not be­ing uti­lized is patently un­true. Ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Ser­vice, some 5 mil­lion hunters an­nu­ally use pub­lic lands, not to men­tion mil­lions more an­glers, bird-watch­ers, and hik­ers. As for nat­u­ral re­source ex­trac­tion, the Of­fice of Nat­u­ral Re­source Rev­enue re­ports oil com­pa­nies pumped 455,000 bar­rels of crude oil from fed­eral pub­lic lands ev­ery day in 2015 (the most re­cent data avail­able). The BLM leases 155 mil­lion acres for live­stock graz­ing. Amer­ica’s pub­lic lands are be­ing used for re­sources and re­cre­ation. The chal­lenge is bal­anc­ing de­mand for these with the needs of fish and wildlife.

rul­ing: FALSE

ROBERT H. NELSON, SE­NIOR FELLOW AT THE IN­DE­PEN­DENT IN­STI­TUTE OF OAKLAND, MARCH 2012

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