Republican Senate Votes to Sell National Forests

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Inyo National Forest, CA (www.itoda.com)
Inyo National Forest, CA (www.itoda.com)

A week ago, all but 3 Republican Senators voted for an amendment that could result in public land being sold into private hands. Amendment SA 838 was introduced to allow states to take over, transfer and sell public, federal lands, including National Forests, wildlife refuges, and wilderness areas.

Proposed by a circus of Senators cramming every possible amendment into a Republican-sponsored budget, the amendment carries no weight of law. However, the budget is used to bring attention to issues, forcing Senators to take a public stance, which signified a troubling level of support for the privatization of public land.

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SA 838 passed 51-49 – Democrats unanimously opposed it, while all but three Republicans voted for it. The holdouts were Corey Gardner of Colorado, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, all states which have incredible national parks.

The amendment follows a recent push for privatization in the west. Eleven states, including Alaska, Utah, Wyoming, and Arizona, have introduced bills to their legislatures this year that could turn our shared public lands–national forests, parks, refuges, wilderness areas and more–over to the states to sell.

The Olympic National Forest (www.nationalforests.org)
The Olympic National Forest (www.nationalforests.org)

Sen. Lisa Murkowiski’s (R, AK) amendment takes away the protections of Congress, which, as outlined in the U.S. Constitution, is the only body with the authority to sell or transfer federal lands.

Introducing the amendment, Sen. Murkowski stated, “When we have an opportunity to consider this amendment, a vote for it is really a vote in support of — as a priority of this Congress — comprehensive approaches to land policies to facilitate economic development, empower States and improve our conservation systems.”

“Economic development” on National Forest land? Is that really what we need?

Gallatin National Forest, Montana. (www.fs.usda.gov/g)
Gallatin National Forest, Montana. (www.fs.usda.gov/)

So what can you do to help? Speak out and make your voice heard – send a letter to one of the senators who voted for SA 838, and sign this petition:

Elected Officials,

Eleven western states, including Alaska, have introduced bills to their legislatures this year that could turn our shared public lands–national forests, parks, refuges, wilderness areas and more–over to the states to sell.

I do not support the idea of selling America’s shared public lands to the highest bidder.

I am sorry to see this radical idea has also infected the U.S. Congress. In late March, the U.S. Senate voted to pave the way for the sale, transfer or exchange of public lands to state and local governments. Similar efforts in the 1970s and 80s were soundly defeated. It was a bad idea then and it’s a bad idea now.

To pay for managing millions of additional acres, states would resort to privatizing or auctioning these lands for drilling, mining, and logging. Because these lands could be owned solely by extractive industries to maximize profits, Americans, such as myself, could lose access to some of our most treasured natural areas to hunt, camp, fish, hike and watch wildlife.

Our children and grandchildren deserve to experience America’s forests, wildlife refuges and wilderness areas. Help us stop this bad idea from becoming a reality.

Roosevelt National Park, CO
Roosevelt National Park, CO

“National parks and reserves are an integral aspect of intelligent use of natural resources. It is the course of wisdom to set aside an ample portion of our natural resources as national parks and reserves, thus ensuring that future generations may know the majesty of the earth as we know it today.” — John F. Kennedy

Do your part to save our National Forests!


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31 thoughts on “Republican Senate Votes to Sell National Forests

  1. If you are anything but a wealthy person with money and without a conscience you’re an idiot if you vote Republican.

  2. These parks and wilderness areas should be left alone to continue to be untouched by human industry for profit….we have plenty of land that needs an upgrade and to be cleaned up….invest with vision in those areas and leave our parks and open ares alone to be enjoyed by all for today and future generations.

    1. NNOO, the idea is to transfer federal lands that belong to everyone to Republican states, where they will waste ZERO time handing it over to their buddies in the private sector to be destroyed.

  3. This saddens and confuses me! Why does this need to happen? Leave these beautiful parks as is. I can only imagine the destruction that private corporations can inflict on these parks. It will be for profit only and become a wasteland!These politicians only care about the bottom line, money, money!

  4. I sure hope everyone that reads this does more than just post their comments. As for me, I am definitely going to write a letter to one of these gentlemen noted on this post to express how I oppose this. I sure do hope that you all do the same, we gotta believe & fight for something people.

  5. This bill I think is a bit misrepresented in that the intention is to return some of the control of vast tracts of federal public lands to State control in States where up to something like up to 83 percent of their land is under federal control. I don’t think the intention is to release National Parks,Monuments and designated wilderness areas.But I don’t trust cash strapped State governments to do always the right thing with the land but do you Greenies really trust the Feds to always do the right thing?

    1. Damn right I do, WAY before we put it in the hands of red state governments. Republicans are to be trusted THE LEAST.

  6. There is no need to develop our nations national forests. Once we destroy our national parks, we lose our nations greatest treasures.

  7. All who voted yea should be removed from their positions as they are clearly not serving the people, ie. FIRED and possibly imprisoned for willingness to destroy our planet.

  8. This group of politicians in this time in our countries history have no right to come in and screw up our beautiful country. This land should not be for profit.
    Private industry will only have a plan of making money , with no regard of the lands worth to the rest of us.

  9. Those of you who are bashing republicans do realize your democrat president just approved drilling in the arctic?

    1. What’s your point, that our natural world is better off in the hands of Republicans? I hope not. You people need to vote for Bernie Sanders if you really want to knock this crap off, otherwise Republicans AND Dems will just make the oil companies happy. We need to move left, left of the Democrats and WWAAYY left of Republicans.

  10. not one acre. These lands belong to the people of this nation and I for one will defend our public lands by any means. This cannot happen.

  11. I was around ten years when my grandfather, dad, and older brother camped in Kennedy Meadows in 1965. As I got older and began driving, I began to spend more time in national parks and in national forests. This bill is irresponsible and must be stopped. Our majestic national parks and forests are sacred ground and must not be desecrated for any reason. We the people are the stewards of these lands and must be passed on to future generations. Each generation becomes responsible for ensuring the lands are kept intact and passed on to the next generation.

  12. I am confused. The bill seems to be about National Forests (Dept. of Agriculture), yet some of the pictures and quotes are about National Parks (Dept. of Interior). Nat’l Forests have a checkered history of being EXACTLY for economic use: extraction of minerals, timber, etc. Not that I would want to see these lands revert to states. I’m just concerned that people will contact their legislators all upset about “parks” being transferred – and then their feedback would count for nothing because it’s completely off base.

  13. Please don’t do this. I can’t think of a better way to absolutely ruin America’s beauty than to turn the land into a for profit. In the words of President Theodore Roosevelt, “there are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, it’s melancholy, and it’s charm.”

  14. Your National Parks are the envy of millions, selling them off and leaving them open to commercialisation would be sacrilege !

  15. This is total bull it’s not right why ruin the earth this amendment need to be put down

  16. Absolutely horrifying idea. The loss of everything that makes America true and good. So….what are WE the people going to do about it?

  17. Out here in Washington, Republicans have been the only ally for ski resorts and Democrats have been trying to shut them down.

    1. IF that is true that is probably to PROTECT the national forest, not give it away to your rich buddies. Republicans are for skiing in national forests because it makes people BIG money. They would allow ANYTHING in national forests that made the right people big money.

  18. the desire of some members of Congress to sell what is beautiful in this world is unbelievable! Stop this insanity!

    Carolyn Strickler

  19. THE USA should split in two, one part of the country can be democrats and the other republicans and just get it over with. The two parties seem so far apart on the political spectrum now a days.

  20. And by economic development they mean dtilling and strip mining of course. Typical gop bow down to big money corps

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