Western states hope to manage public land

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Updated: 4/22 7:26 am
RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- A new effort is underway for states to possibly gain title rights to federal public land.

Lawmakers from nine western states and Washington D.C. gathered in Salt Lake City Utah for 'The Legislative Summit on the Transfer of Public Lands.' The summit included at least six Nevada lawmakers. News 4's Van Tieu tells us these lawmakers believe states are better prepared to manage public land both environmentally, and economically.

The summit comes on the heels of rancher Cliven Bundy's battle with the Bureau of Land Management, but the call to action started before guns were drawn in Nevada.

"This is more than one rancher in Clark county Nevada," Utah representative Ken Ivory said.

Ivory, who co-organized the summit, is sponsoring Utah's Transfer of Public Lands Act in 2012. The act set the stage to demand the federal government to transfer public land titles to the states.

Ivory points to the first line of the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934, which states the secretary of the interior has authority to "promote the highest use of the public lands pending its final disposal," with pending being the key word.

Representative Ivory says the more than 50 lawmakers who attended the summit are moving forward to form an executive committee to develop a strategic plan compelling congress to transfer title to public land.
They plan on forming subcomittees with a senate, house, and local lawmaker in each state.

"We're simply working to compel our federal governing partner to simply honor the promise, honor the commitment, that goes back even before our statehood, to all of these other states. Because it was only ever supposed to be a trustee to hold the lands, pending statehood, and dispose of them--extinguish title is what it says in the Nevada Constitution and Enabling act," Ivory said.

The BLM, in Ivory's opinion, is out of date and doing a poor job of managing public land. The states can and will do a better job he says.

"The states that already manage millions of acres of public land manage them profitably while the federal government manages them at a lost. So we certainly can't afford to do it the way the federal government does it. But the states can't afford to not manage the public lands in the manner that states already traditionally and do manage public lands now," Ivory said.

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Speed - 4/22/2014 6:09 PM
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It's about time we took our land back,and THANK YOU Governor,for signing on with this deal!
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