Credo Action

Tell Congress: America’s public lands are not for sale

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Tell Congress:

“Locked gates and no trespassing signs do not belong in our national forests and public lands. Don’t pass legislation that will transfer federal public lands to state governments or private control.”

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    Tell Congress: America’s public lands are not for sale

    Republicans didn’t campaign on getting rid of America’s public lands and national monuments in the last election, but they sure are acting like it.

    First they attempted to pass a bill that would abolish the Antiquities Act, a hundred year old executive privilege that allows Presidents to protect threatened public lands and designate national monuments.

    Now, they’re using Congress’s annual budget process to lay the groundwork for turning America’s public lands over to state control for sale to private mining, drilling and real estate companies.

    Tell Congress: Do not transfer America’s public lands to state or private control.

    This latest assault on America’s public lands is at the hands of Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the new Republican chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Her amendment, which passed by two votes and is now a part of the Senate’s official budget, would fund state efforts to seize America’s public lands and then sell them off to the highest bidder.1

    Under state control, these public lands would likely be sold off for real estate or fossil fuel extraction. Hundreds of millions of acres of pristine public lands in the American West that are the cradle of future national parks, monuments, and preserves would instead be sacrificed to dirty oil drilling and fracking companies.

    According to New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich, who stands in opposition to these attacks, “selling off America’s treasured lands to the highest bidder would result in a proliferation of locked gates and no-trespassing signs in places that have been open to the public and used for generations.”

    But here’s the good news: Because Congress’s budget is non-binding, these proposals need further legislation to actually take effect. That’s why it’s incredibly important to step in now to let Congress know exactly where Americans stand on this terrible idea.

    Tell Congress: Do not transfer America’s public lands to state or private control.

    This is a coordinated attack on government management of taxpayer owned public lands. Murkowski’s amendment mirrors a similar proposal by House Natural Resources Committee chairman Rob Bishop, that would spend $50 million of taxpayers’ money to transfer America’s public lands to states for private sale.

    With these attacks, Republicans are marching in lockstep with the self-serving ideology made famous by Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who refused to pay $1 million owed to American taxpayers for grazing his cattle on public lands on the grounds that states have “sovereignty” over public lands. Even Murkowski herself described President Obama’s decision to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska as “a stunning attack on our sovereignty.”2

    We need to make sure Congress knows Americans won’t stand by while Republicans wage war on America’s public lands. Tell Congress that America’s public lands are NOT for sale:

    Tell Congress: Do not transfer America’s public lands to state or private control.

    Thank you for your activism.

    1. "Senate Votes To Help States Sell Off Public Lands," ThinkProgress, March 26, 2015.

    2. "President Obama Protects a Valued Wilderness," The New York Times, January 27, 2015.