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Goad reports: "The U.S. government remains shut down, thanks to House Republicans' refusal to fund the government without defunding the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, 401 national parks across the country are closed to tourists and vacationers, provoking 'pretty livid' responses."

Bryce Canyon Hoodoos, Utah. (photo: Ben Stimler/Flickr)
Bryce Canyon Hoodoos, Utah. (photo: Ben Stimler/Flickr)


House Republicans Move to Sell Off 3.3 Million Acres of Public Lands

By Jessica Goad, ThinkProgress

05 October 13

 

he U.S. government remains shut down, thanks to House Republicans' refusal to fund the government without defunding the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, 401 national parks across the country are closed to tourists and vacationers, provoking "pretty livid" responses.

But the fact that the government and parks are closed hasn't stopped Congress from holding hearings, including one Thursday in the House Natural Resources Committee on a bill that would force a fire sale of 3.3 million acres of public lands.

The Disposal of Excess Federal Lands Act of 2013 (H.R. 2657) from Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) would mandate that public lands Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming to be sold off to the highest bidder as a way of reducing the deficit. The areas to be sold are based on an outdated report from 1997, although the bill directs the Secretary of the Interior to "update" that report.

However, evidence shows not only that voters oppose selling off public lands, but that they are incredibly important economically. This is especially true for the state of Utah, which is losing $4.4 million every day because its five national parks are shutdown. Tourists and visitors to these parks are being turned away, and reports of the potentially devastating economic impacts are already coming in.

The manager of an lodge outside of Bryce Canyon National Park said "This such an important time for us ... It's going to kill us if this drags on"

Moab retailer Canyon Voyages Adventure Company has gotten "tons and tons of calls from visitors who have scheduled trips with us or aren't sure if they can go" because Canyonlands and Arches National Parks are closed.

And The Deseret News reports that "Zion [National Park] expects to turn away 10,000 visitors a day during the government-imposed closure, costing $50,000 in daily revenue."

Some of these disgruntled tourists have gone so far as to go on record blaming Republicans for the shutdown. For example, Mark Boeckman, a visitor to Zion National Park said earlier this week:

I'm a Republican and I am not happy with what they are doing. I'm of the opinion that the far right of the Republican Party has taken this too far. The Obamacare thing is something they voted for... it is what is. Live by it.

With Americans' frustration growing at the shutdown, House Republicans are trying to distract from their closure of national parks by proposing piecemeal legislation to keep just national parks (but not monuments, refuges, or Forest Service campgrounds) open. They also took the opportunity on Wednesday to vilify the National Park Service for providing safe access for Honor Flight participants to the World War II Memorial, despite the fact that the agency "'bent over backwards' to make sure veterans were not inconvenienced or disappointed" according to the co-founder of the Honor Flight Network.

And of course, while national parks are closed to the public, they remain open to oil and gas drilling.


 

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+113 # Rita Walpole Ague 2013-10-05 12:05
Hah, hah, hah. Not a one bit funny joke, the sell off of these lands to the 'highest bidder'. Does not take a genius to figure out who that highest bidders is going to be - 'fossil foolers' out of the evil, greed and power addicted 1%ers.

Lots and lots of $$$$$ to be made off of war, war, war for oil, oil, oil, and ruination of Mother Earth, via oil and gas drilling, fracking, pipelining, fires set not accidentally, flooding, etc..

All of us, regardless of political affiliation or the lack thereof, must wake up to what's going on.
 
 
+45 # Barbara K 2013-10-06 06:42
Ritaague: These are Public lands, we ARE the public. I don't know how the House thinks they can sell them off. I hope it goes to the Senate and President too. The Republicans are far too eager to destroy this country and we must stop them before there is nothing left to save. KICK THEM OUT at next election and keep them out.

..
 
 
+9 # Eldon J. Bloedorn 2013-10-06 12:34
Why the Democrats may "see it slip away." They are too kind and they do not play by the same ruthless war rules as the Republicans. Very sad.
 
 
+43 # Activista 2013-10-05 20:58
This is sad - criminal - selling nature for profit - SICK USA MONEY CULTURE. Stop militarism and debt is gone -
 
 
+30 # Glen 2013-10-06 09:21
I used to kid with my students that the military should be having bake sales, not schools. The money for ONE fighter jet or ONE rocket could fund schools quite some time. Beautiful public lands are as deserving, and should never be sacrificed for political or military spitefulness and corruption.
 
 
+21 # Activista 2013-10-06 10:02
The money for ONE fighter jet or ONE rocket could fund schools quite some time." It costs $1 MILLION PER year per ONE soldier in Afghanistan -
War in Afghanistan (2001–present) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_in_Afghanistan_(2001–present)‎
The estimate for the cost of deploying one U.S. soldier in Afghanistan is over US$1 million a year. In a 2011 news story, the CSM reported ...the administration has yet to outline a specific plan for removing the 68,000 troops that remain (2013) countdowntodrawdown.org/facts.php

68,000 x $1 million/year = $68 billions/year - US Fed Education Spending is 141.8 billions/year ... make your own conclusion about US government priorities.
 
 
+49 # m... 2013-10-05 21:28
''House Republicans Move to Sell Off 3.3 Million Acres of Public Lands ''
What is the surprise..? Of course they want to sell off OUR land. They want to sell it cheaply to their Super WEalthy Global Corporate Benefactors-- The American People be damned.

I hope Americans, especially the mouth breathing Fox crowd, will wake up to the fact that WE the People (including the easily hypnotized Dittoheads) are collectively being LOOTED by the bottomless pit otherwise known as--Wall Street Greed run amok under the umbrella Conservative Flim Flam known as 'Smaller Government' according to Wall street Lobby Formulations.

Where are the Clever Writers and Personalities, Political and Otherwise, who are smart and daring enough to put together a mass media education program for the American People-- A Course in how 30 years of 'Smaller Government' has actually devolved, evolved and snowballed into the biggest Hoodwinking in American history and IS the main number one reason we are in decline, so divided, pitted against each other and arguing over straw men nonsense while Our Country and all of US are not only being robbed blind-- Our entire Country and System of Government is methodically being reshaped and reformulated into a stark, dark Plutocracy and We the People are becoming little more than consumer-worker -bees-corporate -cash-cows with less and less rights AND privacy AND security AND human dignity for no other reason than GREED.
 
 
+34 # Lolanne 2013-10-06 06:01
//Where are the Clever Writers and Personalities, Political and Otherwise, who are smart and daring enough to put together a mass media education program for the American People--//

Robert Reich has done just that with his movie "Inequality for All." Just saw it the other day and highly recommend it -- it is an excellent mass media education program. I hope various groups will have the opportunity to purchase the film and show it free of charge to all who want to know what is really happening to the country's wealth.
 
 
+15 # m... 2013-10-06 08:29
Thanks, I'll check it out...

I hope it includes 'lessons-inform ation' on just what has happened to the structural functioning of our Government... 'We the People' (aka, the 99)... have practically been carved out of the entire '''of the_____, by the _____, and for the _____''' government equation by way of pen strokes and corporate media manipulations and their power of sway at the ballot box.

Fill in the blanks above with any of a few terms/concepts, for example...

Global Corporate
1%
Greedsters
Corporate Class
Plutocrats
Schmucks
Oligarchs
Lobby Legions
Maniacs
Blind
Big Biz
I Got Mine-Screw You

It seems to me that we kind of have a Government run by gangs...
Corporate Lobby Gangs, Tea Baggin Gangs, Media Gangs, Single Issue Gangs, Everybody But Us Sucks Gangs.. etc..,

In other words, this era of very creepy 'Specialization ' has peaked to nation shattering proportions and its reached the critical point where salvation will only come from a long run of 'Generalization '--- as in a Government of, by and for Ourselves for the Greater GENERAL Good... As opposed to the Greater Amounts in Accounts for the 'We're Special 1%'
 
 
+8 # molesoul 2013-10-07 15:55
I also highly recommend Inequality for All and plan to work with local groups to show it to a broader audience.

However, I'm more and more convinced that a fanatical faction that serves the 1% is trying to manipulate a real coup d'etat. They are going for all out war using the shutdown, the debt ceiling, the McCutcheon case, and now the sale of public lands, among other things, are battles they are intent on winning. If they do, we are in BIG trouble.

We need those members of the 1% who stand with the People to fund a massive campaign of TV public service announcements. They could take the messages directly from the Reich film if they wanted.

Anybody know how to reach Warren Buffet?
 
 
+3 # Activista 2013-10-08 09:26
I would prefer to contact George Soros - he supported Obama first time -
relentless assaults Mr. Soros has endured from Republicans since he announced that President Bush is civilization’s greatest threat to world peace and that defeating him in the 2004 elections had become the “central focus” of his life. Republicans went ballistic and since then I’ve heard Soros verbally sodomized with every slander in the conservative arsenal: “baby-killer,” “morally bankrupt,” “anti-American, ” “drug-pusher,” “Jew hater,” “madman,” “Devil incarnate”
www.georgesoros.com/faqs/entry/georgesorosinvolvementinpolitics‎
George Soros was an early supporter of Barack Obama, first in his Senate campaign in Illinois and later when he ran for President. Soros supported Obama in .....
 
 
+5 # Jelula 2013-10-06 15:38
"Where are the Clever Writers and Personalities, Political and Otherwise, who are smart and daring enough to put together a mass media education program for the American People-- A Course in how 30 years of 'Smaller Government' has actually devolved, evolved and snowballed into the biggest Hoodwinking in American history ...."

The most depressing part of this question is the answer - there are myriad sources of the necessary information and history to understand all of this - but how do you make everyone read it? And how do you make those who will read it with their own absolute, preconceived notions understand reality?
 
 
+41 # sophiacat1 2013-10-05 22:04
Rather than raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations, they are selling the country out from under us. Yes, the excess cash of the wealthy and corporations is being used to sell off America, and whatever natural resources that now belong to the people, will be taken for private profit. If this is the preferred way for the GOP to balance the budget, the public is paying for the Iraq War and other things with the one-time sale of our property-- without us ever being asked our permission to sell them. This is America's "fire sale". Come and get it! Once it's in private hands, it can be sold to anyone-- China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and it will be forever in private hands. Too bad for us.
 
 
+23 # Skeptical1247 2013-10-05 22:27
I suspect this "proposed sale" is garbage... a corrupt gift to Repub's fossil fuel pals that won't even raise enough money to justify itself. If we want to sell public lands, then we really should sell them to "the public". As in regular people in the form of a modern-day internet Land Race governed by the principles and rules featured in earlier Homestead Acts. It is a workable idea.

Why not actually do something to benefit a populace that was royally (and repeatedly) screwed by Republican ideology? I like living out in the boondocks, and would be thrilled to have the opportunity to homestead and develop a 40 acre parcel and pay Uncle Sam directly to finance the purchase.

In an age of Satellite TV & Internet, Cell Phones and Solar & Wind power, it makes no sense whatsoever for many people to be jammed together in a city, placing a burden on the power grid, water and sewage infrastructure that is already outdated and overburdened. Food for thought...
 
 
+8 # Activista 2013-10-06 10:05
and export of coal to China ... a corrupt gift to Repub's fossil fuel pals ...
 
 
+11 # Jim Young 2013-10-05 22:59
An absolute outrageous fraud.

Did we learn nothing from crap like Christopher Cox giveaway of the Helium Reserve for private profiteers? It was set up by Harold Ickes to be the biggest strategic reserve in the world, and he s former Republican, fiercely defended it against those businessmen that wanted to sell much of it off to Germany before WWII. God Job Christopher Cox, see what you resurrected in "piratizing" short term thievery of the public resources?
 
 
+32 # NOMINAE 2013-10-06 01:00
Especially given the fact that the Deficit has dropped by more than half of what it was when this Admin took over, this raw and transparent land grab is, like the Shutdown itself, an unadorned, and unmitigated scam as well as an all-out crime.

The land belonging to your children is being offered to the "highest bidder", who will obviously be, as ritaague indicates above, the extraction industries.

This is simple, unvarnished, Congressional pushed and approved *THEFT*.

They are robbing your pensions, and robbing your land.
And Congress, far from protecting you, is literally participating in the robbery in progress.
 
 
+28 # Glen 2013-10-06 03:13
We have all said it before: pull funding from the military and stop building bases overseas. The U.S. is building a world wide occupation at the expense of citizens, and lands that cannot be replaced after being exploited.

Seems we have already had a coup - a military coup.
 
 
+29 # gilletlb 2013-10-06 04:55
This outrageous business should be headlined across all media for what it is; another giveaway to the big $$$$$ GOP supporters and nothing else. Totally disgusting. I just hope they don't have enough funds to round up any more wild horses (there are just a few thousand left on the hundreds of millions of acres allotted to them the the 1971 law) at the behest of cattlemen who have millions of cattle on public land and energy companies who have trashed millions of acres already.
 
 
+10 # ChickenBoo 2013-10-06 08:39
Quoting gilletlb:
nothing else. Totally disgusting. I just hope they don't have enough funds to round up any more wild horses (there are just a few thousand left on the hundreds of millions of acres allotted to them the the 1971 law) at the behest of cattlemen who have millions of cattle on public land and energy companies who have trashed millions of acres already.

Great post, gilletlb. My thoughts too. And on the thought of the Mustangs being slaughtered, (over 30,000 of them now held in government pens) now that the meat inspectors are no longer available, I wonder if some of these ghouls will open up their horse slaughtering facilities anyway? It's wild when you speak to various Republicans...t hey blame the entire shutdown on Obama, and if he'd just repeal Obama care, all would be fine. The hatred between the political parties will grow and grow as things get worse. Then we'll finally have our own civil war and our riot police can finally lock us down in those FEMA camps they've been preparing for us!
Oh well....at least we'll probably get free health care!
 
 
+19 # Tje_Chiwara 2013-10-06 06:24
Like so many of those ads promising how to make money in an economic downturn, they are simply following what they call the "free market" but others would call simple theft, using position and opportunity to plunder a resource that has limited shelf-life when exploited. Where is the old "Conservative" Conservative party? No, this is the Party of Opportunistic Plundering . . abetted by the Activist Roberts/Scalia Court, eager to support the success of the Glorious Money Gathering . . . however aggregated.
 
 
+21 # hwmcadoo 2013-10-06 07:18
What a stupid, short sighted and selfish plan. These are our lands, if anyone in Congress cares, and sale is irreversible.

I would love to have a high level intellectual conversation with these idiots using a baseball bat.
 
 
+15 # Cailleach 2013-10-06 08:57
I live in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, or just a short walk from it. Here in Taos we are thrilled to welcome it. It will boost our economy, which we sorely need. Now the Republican criminals want to take it from us and sell it privately for the benefit of the 1%? Maybe to foreign countries? In fact, they want to sell ALL OUR American lands for THEIR profit???!!!!! It's impossible to express how angry I am at them without breaking your guidelines. This is an attack on 99% of Americans. I have a lot of suggestions of what the rest of us should do to the thieves. I'm sure those who care about this incredibly beautiful country have many ideas of their own. GO FOR IT!
 
 
+10 # Activista 2013-10-06 10:12
"he Republican criminals want to take it from us and sell it privately for the benefit of the 1%? Maybe to foreign countries? "
Saudis and NY speculators are buying corn fields of Midwest ...
United States Farms and Ranches for sale, United States Acreage ...
www.landwatch.com/Farms_Ranches‎
Listings 1 - 15 of 32913 - United States: Browse Thousands of Acres of Farms and Ranches for Sale in United States. ... PRC Yuan Renminbi, Qatari Rial, Real, Rial Omani, Saudi Riyal .... Colorado Recreational Ranches, Land, Homes and Cabin Properties ...
 
 
+8 # Third_stone 2013-10-06 13:45
This land does not belong to the government, it belongs to the people. Congress has no right to sell it. They also have no right to close it, and to me they appear as strikers who have blocked the doors of the business they are striking. If they did this at Walmart the police would carry them to jail. I don't care if they don't want to work, but they have locked all the gates on their way out.
 
 
+11 # tpmco 2013-10-06 14:19
I'm surprised the bill is not entitled "Help the Wealthy Land Disposal Act".

I wondered when this was coming.
 
 
+11 # Nell H 2013-10-06 16:28
This is not the first time that the Republicans have gone after our public lands.

About 40 years ago the Republicans decided to sell off ALL the National Parks except Grand Canyon, Smoky Mountains, and one other. That summer, on a driving trip across the US, we sent picture postcards to our representative, our senators, the president, the vice-president and a few others telling them NOT TO SELL OUR NATIONAL PARKS.

Selling public lands is a really bad thing to do. It's worse than shutting down the government.
 
 
+6 # Walter J Smith 2013-10-06 18:12
Yes, this is repugnant.

And it was repugnant for Diane Feinstein to arrange for her husband realtor to sell closed historically significant Post Offices.

What's new with the bipartisan creep parade?

They are all devoted to transferring public property to their ungoverned capitalist pals. That has been going on, as Grant McConnell wrote in an excellent book, since the beginning of US Constitutional Government.
 
 
+3 # tigerlille 2013-10-07 05:08
Quoting Walter J Smith:
Yes, this is repugnant.

And it was repugnant for Diane Feinstein to arrange for her husband realtor to sell closed historically significant Post Offices.

What's new with the bipartisan creep parade?

They are all devoted to transferring public property to their ungoverned capitalist pals. That has been going on, as Grant McConnell wrote in an excellent book, since the beginning of US Constitutional Government.



But Walter, Diane Feinstein is one of the saintly, "kind" Democrsts!
 
 
+5 # fredboy 2013-10-07 09:57
All are in it for the bucks. Nothing else.

It's over.
 

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