Study Makes the Case for Transfer of the Public Lands to Wyoming
Last week, Y2 Consultants, Jackson, WY, issued its report on State management of Wyoming’s public lands. It concluded that Wyoming cannot possibly “manage” the public lands. Outright transfer is the only way Wyoming can work toward healthy air, water, wildlife, abundant outdoor recreation and safe, vibrant communities.
The Wyoming legislature commissioned this report in 2015 and appropriated $75,000 for this purpose. (Compare to the $500,000 Utah spent on its study.)
Y2 Consultants cite the “growing frustration of communities across the west and many citizens and legislators with the management practices of the federal agencies that are tasked with sustaining the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of both present and future generations.”
The Consultants also acknowledge that “On the ground land managers in federal agencies are routinely burdened by their own agencies’ bureaucracy and practices and a legal framework that seem to invite confrontation over collaboration, leading, in some instances to ‘analysis paralysis’ and litigation. Whether it is oil and gas, grazing, hunting, or recreational uses – the lengthy and protracted permitting processes and issues have become a concern.”
Simple management of Wyoming’s public lands, under the rules of a federal bureaucracy, is no solution to these “concerns.”
Management (and not ownership) of the public lands by the state would require that we manage the lands under all current, often conflicting and always cumbersome, federal laws, rules and regulations - which grow annually.
Management (and not ownership) of the public lands would not avoid “inheriting the crippling bureaucracy, costs, and litigation” that follows federal lands.
Management (and not ownership) would make Wyoming even more dependent on federal funds as the state would need federal money for management of the federal lands.
Management (and not ownership) “would ultimately merely pass on the myriad of problems that exist today to the state.”
Management (and not ownership) will necessitate changing and unwinding a “vast number of entwined and overlapping federal laws.” This is unlikely to be accomplished absent the cooperation of all the federal bureaucrats motivated only by keeping their jobs and promoting the agenda of the extremists intent on destroying energy development, agriculture, recreation and the rural lifestyle.
From the Report: “Management of federal public lands is an incredibly complex puzzle of interwoven and sometimes conflicting pieces. Numerous impediments from the straightforward to the extremely complicated make the prospect of such a state takeover of the management of federal public lands unlikely to succeed.”
And . . . Wyoming would be “inheriting the same bureaucratic maze of overlapping, entwined, often conflicting federal mandates established in the labyrinth of laws and directives laid out by Congress.”
Local communities in the west, “who are most affected and who have generations of knowledge and stewardship,” will have not have a “larger voice” in Washington and with federal agencies under state management. Local Resource Advisory Committees cannot be formed due to Wyoming’s lack of “diversity” – diversity that is required by federal rules in establishing such cooperating and consulting committees.
The recent, illegal and malicious actions by the USFS in the Bridger-Teton National Forest demonstrates our federal landlord’s utter unwillingness to cooperate or consult with the residents and county commissioners in Wyoming. The Department of Interior’s arbitrary moratorium on new coal leases, the BLM’s refusal to grant new mining permits, all point to an increasing hostility to, and disregard of, the prosperity and safety of Wyoming. Outright transfer, exclusive of the lands and rights enumerated in 2015’s House Bill 209, is the only solution.
Outright transfer, not simply “management,” is the only solution to the straits in which Wyoming finds itself . . . and this Report confirms it.