ThinkProgress filed this report from the Western Republican Leadership Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Speaking at the Western Republican Leadership Conference, Paul declared that Nevada, which has a large percentage of federally-owned public lands, ought to become more like Texas, where “private owners” have “developed all the natural resources.” Paul went on to say “how wonderful it would be if land will be or should be returned to the states and then for the best parts sold off to private owners”:
PAUL: Take a look at the state of Nevada. Do the people own the property in Nevada? No. Who’s the biggest landowner? It’s the federal government. I would like to see the development of this state the way that Texas had the privilege of developing. Before we went in the Union, it was owned entirely by private owners and it has developed all the natural resources, a very big state. So you can imagine how wonderful it would be if land will be or should be returned to the states and then for the best parts sold off to private owners.
Paul’s remarks fall in line with the attacks on public lands from conservative lawmakers and corporate front groups. For instance, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) has been waging war on public lands from his helm as chairman of the House Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, while the Koch Brothers have funded pro-oil events across the West.
For more information, read Center for American Progress President John Podesta’s article on defending public lands or a report from CAP’s public lands team on how public land conservation creates jobs.