This land is our land
The Dec. 31 front-page article “‘Smothered’ and ‘shoved aside’ in rural America” asserted that President Barack Obama “set aside millions of acres of undeveloped land as national monuments . . . preventing huge areas from being mined, logged or farmed.” That characterization reinforced the false impression that the designation was a momentous and sweeping land grab in which private lands were appropriated for inclusion in the public lands system.
In fact, these lands were already federally owned and managed. Through the designation, Obama added a layer of protection, but a layer that also generally protected valid existing rights to mine or lease and uses such as grazing.
As for farming, Obama’s actions had no impact one way or the other because farming has never been an authorized use of federal lands. Erica Rosenberg, Washington The writer, an environmental lawyer, was counsel to Senate and House committees overseeing public lands.