Matt Winey: Public land debate
December 23, 2014
To the editor:
One of the silliest things I have ever read was just in the Saturday edition of our local Craig Daily Press.
The silliness was from someone who apparently does not understand the type of government that made this nation what it is today or did she seem to understand why the elected officials who believed the federal government should be "all" powerful were just defeated soundly in the 2014 midterm elections.
The topic of the column in the Saturday paper was about the different states of these United States taking ownership of the land that is called "public land" within their own borders, instead of leaving control of these land in the hands of bureaucrats in D.C. Our state lands are regulated by people in D.C. that have no real care or concern about the land in Colorado or its people except to fit their own agendas.
Several other very silly segments were found throughout the piece.
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One being the idea that locally we would not get any revenue from the use of these lands if the states controlled them. The facts is each state would get all the taxes and fees that would be generated from these public lands. That would be quite a sum of money, much greater in value to us than letting the federal government collect the taxes for these lands and then giving us the puny amount PILT would give us for our local road and bridge department.
Our founding fathers would have been appalled by the methods used in D.C. to manage public lands. Our founding fathers warned us about the federal government not being a true "federal" type government as they founded it as and they hope it would not become such a top down type of government as we see today. The founding fathers type of federalism was such that the individual states were each sovereign and they were the controlling entities in most political decisions, not the federal government. But today we have a "federal government" that has decided they know what is best for every state. The "federal system" our founding fathers gave us was one in which the "federal government" was small and just had the authority to provide for our national defense and the oversight in interstate commerce. This simply meant they would make sure the states treated each other fairly when commerce crossed state lines.
Another thing that seems to be rampant in our world today is the idea of not following the law as indicated by this column in the Saturday paper. Our early leaders knew that the lands of the states belonged to each state, or should end up that way even if the land started out as federal land. This was set into law by the Land Ordinance of 1784, and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. But I understand that if you learn history from what is being taught in our institutions of higher learning in modern time you will not study these type of laws.
The public lands talked about in the article Saturday are supposed to be governed and owned by the states they are in. But I guess if you believe only those who are in Washington, D.C., know what they are doing you will want the federal government to control all. But this is a silly thought when we are
$17 trillion in debt and we now have a government run health care system that is not working and dragging us farther in debt. Plus when our local economy is dying because the federal government has control over the lands we live in you would think you would understand they, (those in D.C.), do not actually know how to do what works, what is right and what is lawful.