The winter before last, emboldened by their power, California’s Representative from the Tracy area area, Richard Pombo, teamed up with Jim Gibbons of Nevada and hatch a scheme to steal the public lands under the disguise of mining reform.

In a move surprising to many, Westerners rallied against them, and before long Western Republicans who’d long had little good to say about public lands such as Craig Thomas, Mike Enzi, and even Larry Craig were backpeddling, and pledging their fealty to our birthright of room to roam, our great public land heritage. Even Butch Otter, then a member of the House who was proposing to sell off 20% of the national forests, etc. to pay for Hurricane Katrina, was quickly forced to drop his bill lest he lose his race for governor.

Of course, their conversion was “lite.”Now they are back at it, using the fires as the latest weapon against the public lands. John Miller’s article on the fire’s stirring an “ember of the sagebrush rebellion” should be a wake-up call. This isn’t really about fire. The fires are their vehicle to attack the public land management agencies, the firefighters, policies designed to elevate the importance of wildlife, recreation, and the average citizen. They mean to take it away from you.

It’s got to be once again more into the breach for the public land patriots.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

2 Responses to It's time for sagebrush patriots to rally against the land stealing rebels

  1. avatar Blaeloch says:

    Irony is their forte.

    They’d like to see all the federal lands privatized, made available for development, and covered with second-home developments on the “wildland-urban interface,” which in turn would bring more fire.

  2. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    your post is apt and inspirational. thank you

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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