Today House committee considers bills to give our land to the states

House Natural Resources Committee to take up nasty legislation from Idaho’s Raul Labrador and Alaska’s Don Young-

News release
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, the House Natural Resources Committee’s subcommittee on Federal Lands will discuss a handful of bills that promote the idea of transferring America’s public lands to individual states.

Two of these bills, in particular—Rep. Don Young’s H.R. 3650 and Rep. Raul Labrador’s H.R. 2316—are overt attempts to undermine public land ownership. Young’s bill is sweeping in its impact, allowing states to select and acquire millions of acres of national forests to be completely owned and operated by states and managed primarily for timber production. The Labrador bill would transfer management authority for large segments of our national forests to “advisory committees” and exempt these lands from bedrock conservation laws like the Clean Water Act, all while expecting the American taxpayer to continue to fund costs associated with wildfires on these once-public lands.

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) has sent subcommittee members a letter signed by 115 national and state-based hunting and fishing organizations urging lawmakers to reject attempts to seize America’s public lands. The group has also collected nearly 25,000 signatures on a petition opposing the seizure of America’s public lands and loss of sportsmen’s access.

“Even preliminary discussion of this legislation undermines the businesses that rely on public lands to keep their doors open, ignores the very real economic contribution that hunters and anglers make in this country, and panders to private interests at the expense of the public benefit,” says Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the TRCP. The group and its partners have been calling for decision-makers to end this conversation since January 2015.

“We’ve seen this movement flare up and get stamped out this month at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation. In the last year, we’ve seen 37 bills at the state level, 31 of which were defeated. Now, this is the most overt discussion of seizing or selling off public lands to take place on Capitol Hill. At what point will lawmakers see that this is a non-starter with hunters, anglers, and American families who enjoy public access to outdoor recreation?” asks Fosburgh.

The TRCP is urging sportsmen across the country to contact members of the committee. Here’s the easiest way.

To learn more about efforts to transfer, sell off, or privatize public lands, click here.








  1. Patricia Avatar

    Funny that you do not mention H.R. 2406 which guts the Wilderness Act of 1964 opening some 630 MORE acres to trapping and killing for the economic PITTANCE paid by killers to destroy half the world’s wildlife in just 40 years…still working on it.

    And S. 405, the evil Senate twin of H.R. 2406.

    Since hunters, trappers and hounders have privatized our publicly purchased lands for their trophy and skin killing pleasures, it seems relevant to replace killing licenses with general public funding and a first time democracy. Wildlife WATCHERS pay for 90% of our public lands privatized to white patriarchal elitists for their killing sprees. ( We have not many wildlife left to see – as scared as the remaining are of being shot, pierced, mangled and bludgeoned.)

    We must reform state and federal agencies to a first time democracy in governing our commons including our wildlife. The majority do not want more wildlife destroyed in traps or mounted as trophies on walls.

    Not too funny how you do not think killing interests have privatized our public lands and excluded the non-hunting non-violent people from governing our land, water and wildlife for protection of the web of life that scientists warn us is being destroyed so rapidly, so exponentially, that it endangers the almighty human species.

    Such arrogance – will we awaken in time?

    1. MJ Avatar

      oh Patricia…Hunting is an American legacy which will never go away. I don’t know where you live ( I’m guessing in a city) but where I live I see animals every day.. Your last paragraph is drivel

  2. Patricia Avatar

    630 MILLION acres will be opened not 630 acres – sorry to miss that. These are pristine or as pristine as we have left “untrammeled by man” acreage that will be fully trammeled, exploited, killed out and left bereft of safety and life for the wildlife we love.

    For shame.

    1. Mark L Avatar
      Mark L

      “and loss of sportsmen’s access.”

      And that’s the part that will probably keep anything from passing…fortunately.

    2. Gary Humbard Avatar
      Gary Humbard

      Patricia, a little history, the first organized advocates to protect wildlife in America were pro-hunting and fishing organizations. The establishment of national parks and national forests came about partly because of the desire to protect the nations’ resources from extractors, lumbermen, poachers, skin hunters and railroads to name a few. Hunting organizations such as Boone and Crocket (who was founded by T.R) played a pivotal role in setting aside the first forest reserves and T.R himself (an avid hunter and naturalist) set aside hundreds of millions of acres of national forests and national parks.

      Today, pro-hunting organizations such as RMEF are protecting and restoring hundreds of thousands of acres so the public (you and me) can hike, fish, view wildlife and recreate.

      Pro-hunting groups are not the enemy of conservationists and naturalists, the Bundys and senators such as the above are the real threat.

      1. cascadian12 Avatar

        The least “pro-hunting and fishing” organizations could do, considering they wiped out the Passenger Pigeon (formerly numbering in the billions), the Carolina parakeet, a whole variety of other birds, bison, beavers, otters, wolves, etc. I would love to be able to travel back in time 200 years to when America was a healthy land. Hunting is simply the glorification of killing. Hunters are still wiping out wildlife, given they run the “game” agencies and commissions. Wildlife management needs a complete overhaul.

        1. Gary Humbard Avatar
          Gary Humbard

          I have a self imposed rule to respond once to comments so here I go.

          Pro-hunting organizations such as Boone and Crocket did not wipe out the Passenger Pigeon, Carolina parakeet, bison, beavers, otters, wolves, etc. Market hunters that killed for the feathers did in the pigeon and parakeet and skinners and trappers nearly eliminated the bison, beaver and otter. Wolves were mainly killed by ranchers and the US Government.

          I agree that state wildlife agencies need to be open to allowing non-hunting citizens to dedicate funds for other than game species and I do my part with letter writing and other methods.

          This article was about the threat of bills that would turn over land currently managed by the federal government to the states. It’s no coincidence that pro-hunting and fishing organizations will fight against it alongside conservation organizations and although they are not best friends, they certainly aren’t enemies.

  3. Kyle G Avatar
    Kyle G

    Thanks for posting Ralph. Not a surprise given the foul climate of our current corporatocracy. These “representatives” and their corporate backers will not quit unless and until we the people bring it to an end. This issue has nothing to do with “states rights” except in so far as some states (and we know who you are) are likely to totally remove land use regulations so they can sell off every last thing. “Advisory committees”? No one is fooled by such a euphemism.

    Spread the word, send letters, emails and let’s stop this nonsense in its caterpillar tracks!

  4. monty Avatar

    It is difficult for me to believe that our national forests would be given to the states. Some BLM lands might end up in state control but in green states like California, Oregon and Washington it will never happen. There would be a civil war!

    1. Ida Lupines Avatar
      Ida Lupines

      If you want the brass tacks version from the livestock industry, as we know, the only issue that matters! ;(

  5. richard benton Avatar
    richard benton

    This needs to be a top priority. The sad truth is, we were very effective back in the day (read Keeping the Wild),and now we are suffering the blowback-in that we are seeing our own tactics used against us! We need new strategies/tactics. Direct Action,education,recreational presence in the areas at risk,artwork.The breakthrough Institute needs a strong dose of THE EMPORERS NEW CLOTHES. They are OLD wine in a bright shiny hipster/fascist bottle. Lets get rolling people. Time is the final currency!


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Ralph Maughan