The states are slowing waking up to the realization that federal land ownership and management are destructive to state sovereignty, the 10th amendment and the economy. They are fighting back.
Another "sagebrush rebellion" is spreading through legislatures in Arizona and other Western states with a series of formal demands that the federal government hand over title to tens of millions of acres of forests, ranges and other public lands. Arizona could claim as much as 25 million acres -- all federal land in the state except military bases, Indian reservations, national parks and some wilderness areas. If the federal government fails to comply by the end of 2014, the states say they will begin sending property-tax bills to Washington, D.C....Supporters say federal agencies have mismanaged the land and blocked access to natural resources, depriving the states of jobs and revenue from businesses ready to develop those resources. With the state in control, the backers say, loggers could return to forests where endangered species halted work decades ago and miners could regain access to ore outside the Grand Canyon. "In the last 30 years, the radical environmental policies of these federal agencies have ground those industries to a halt -- right into the ground -- and almost killed them," said state Sen. Al Melvin, R-Tucson, the sponsor of the land-takeover measure, Senate Bill 1332.
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