GOP Rep. Promises To ‘Reverse This Trend Of Public Ownership Of Lands’

Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM)

DENVER, Colorado — A key western congressman declared late last week that Mitt Romney supports his push to “reverse this trend of public ownership of lands.”

In a speech to the Colorado Conservative Political Action Conference, Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) criticized Teddy Roosevelt’s “big ideas of big forests and big national parks,” which primarily exist in the West. Pearce told the audience that, if elected, Mitt Romney will help turn back public lands to the states or private entities.

PEARCE: America, each state, the public lands were given back to the states after they were chartered. But in the West, starting with Teddy Roosevelt who had the big ideas of big forests and big national parks, they held that land. And so the next chart shows you the effect on us in the West. Just understand this is the education. The red is of course bad. We’re starved in the West for education funds because of policies that Mitt Romney sat and listened to Rob Bishop and myself explain when it came to Hobbs. He knows that if we want to reverse the trend, we’ll reverse this trend of public ownership of lands starving education.

Watch it:

Though Romney’s campaign has asserted that they’re not targeting national parks for further drilling, Pearce disputed the notion that they should be off-limits. “Constitutionally,” Pearce told ThinkProgress after the speech, decisions about drilling in national parks and other public-owned lands “should be left with the states.” Indeed, drilling is already underway in a number of parks, with dozens more threatened.

Public lands are vital to the nation for many reasons. They allow anyone, not just the wealthy, access to beautiful natural areas. They provide clean air and water. They even help the United States adapt to climate change while boosting the economy.

For a primer on how the nation’s 700 million acres of public lands could be affected under a Romney presidency, click here.

30 Responses to GOP Rep. Promises To ‘Reverse This Trend Of Public Ownership Of Lands’

  1. Jerri in NM says:

    THIS guy…..Thank God I don’t live in his district!

  2. BillCNC says:

    This is the start of the corporate polluters “CLEAN” land grab.

    After they pollute every place but forests and government lands, … that’s were they will want to live, … the only unpolluted land that will be left.

    I say lets FORCE them go live in the test nuke sites in Nevada, downwind from coal fire plants and fracking sites.

  3. Dan Lee Uhl says:

    “…we’ll reverse this trend of public ownership of lands starving education.”

    And so they will sell our legacy to the for-profit education corporations, who are turning our kids into ignorant slobs, and in the end, we’ll have thousands of new toxic Superfund sites all over the country, and our kids will be so ignorant, they won’t know they were screwed by conservatives, for a few bucks.

  4. Chris Winter says:

    I suppose that’s one way to eliminate Garrett Hardin’s “tragedy of the commons.” Like the old “solution” for hoof-and-mouth disease: if there are no cattle, there’s no disease.

    One thing I don’t understand: “He knows that if we want to reverse the trend, we’ll reverse this trend of public ownership of lands starving education.” How is public ownership of lands starving education?

  5. Dan Lee Uhl says:

    “How is public ownership of lands starving education?”

    It’s not. He would rather hand our shared legacy over to his campaign contributors. If he were really concerned about education, he’s propose (gasp!) tax increases. No, it’s just another conservative scam.

  6. aiw says:

    Public lands don’t necessarily “starve education” but lands designated for private ownership are required to be surveyed, and a certain portion of the survey is required to be set aside for educational use. Many times, the land is sold, and the money used for public education; other times, the land is used for building schools. So, if you have a lot of kids needing education, and a lot of public land, and only a little land surveyed for private ownership, by putting more of the public land to survey for private use, you get more funds for education. (I’m not buying that anywhere in the US is “starved” for educational funding, btw; I just understand the argument he’s short-handing, there).

  7. katym. says:

    … but you live in his country… and his plans don’t stop at any district boundary.

  8. When the western territories entered the Union as States after the Civil War, they were given 1/18 of the land base (2 square miles in each 6×6 township) to be used for public education.

    Most of these lands are leased for grazing or mining. Pearce thinks New Mexico could get more money by simply selling them (which also adds them to the private property tax base).

  9. katym. says:

    ‘We’re starved in the West for education funds…’

    really? i think this factoid needs to be addressed, clarified… what does he mean “starved”?

  10. Marie says:

    John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt are spinning in their graves.

  11. D F Dotts says:

    Steve Pearce was beaten by Tom Udall for a Senate Seat in 2008. Which brings up the question, Is he really interested in private ownership of public lands, or he just a sore loser against any descendant of Stuart Udall?
    Or is he serving his masters, the oil and gas industry (read Yates)?

  12. BillD says:

    Wow–I was just thinking about a Romney EPA, Romney Dept of Interior, Romney NOAA. Perhaps there are enough out of work executives of coal mining companies to fill those positions. Then we could have Sen James Inhofe, the anti-science senator from Oklahoma chairing the senate committee on Science, technology and the environment (or whatever the name is. I am about read to thow up.

  13. Paul Magnus says:

    Why would the public vote for a party which would take public lands and put them in to a few individual/companies hands?

    They would because they would have been hood winkled by the information they get. And that would be because those few own the media…. the same problem we have with getting action on GW/OA.

  14. Dan Lee Uhl says:

    “Pearce thinks New Mexico could get more money by simply selling them (which also adds them to the private property tax base).”

    It’s New Mexico. More likely, mining interests, smell a new source of revenue. Uranium mining has been the curse of the state, with many mines’ radioactive tailings, leaking into the aquifer, for people who actually live there. Strip mines, wherever they can bribe enough local officials with campaign contribution, with nary a cent showing up in the education coffers.

  15. Dan Lee Uhl says:

    Will the states who sell their public lands reimburse the federal government for the decades of new construction and maintenance, these parks received?

  16. Mick says:

    What century are we living in again?

  17. sandyh says:

    Let me get this right. This guy is advocating private land grabs of our National Parks and Wilderness areas? Isn’t that the plot of most of John Wayne movies where he shoots these land speculators guys in the balls?

  18. Mike Roddy says:

    I lived in Oregon for many years, and the logging tax for public education was a real devils’ bargain. It enabled clearcutting of our magnificent national forests, which, along with California’s redwoods, were the most majestic trees on the planet. The northwest forests are now moth eaten and degraded, much more vulnerable to hotter temperatures.

    Weyerhauser and Georgia Pacific held our children hostage. Then, they cut and run, leaving schools and timber towns abandoned when the trees were gone. It was never about the schools for them except as a way to provide cover. It’s the same with this clown from Utah.

  19. Nico says:

    I can’t even believe they would even stoop so low to sell off our national parks. This is akin to selling off our heritage to the highest bidder.

  20. Nick says:

    “..public ownership of lands starving education…”

    I like the complete_absence_of_an_argument for this claim. It’s so very GOP to present utter nonsense as reasonable.

    If education is being starved,divert some from the frigging defence budget, or raise a tax. Or lower subsidies to fossil fuel.

  21. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The plans of the wicked Right to steal every particle of the common wealth, to enrich their insatiably greedy selves and impoverish the rest of humanity ( who they despise) are eternal and utterly unbounded. They want EVERYTHING, and never cease plotting and scheming.

  22. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The evil Right have been proclaiming their plans to steal National Parks for years. As usual the human beings have lacked the wit to realise that these monsters mean every vicious word that they utter, and will not cease until they have totally obliterated the very idea of public goods, human solidarity and the common wealth, unless they are stopped.

  23. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    “Factoid’ – is this yet another euphemism for a lie, the Right’s native tongue.

  24. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    With a microscopic sight.

  25. Mugsy says:

    Actually, it would be better if you were so you could vote him out.

    “No more public lands” means “no more public parks”, “no more protected environmentally protected wetlands”, “not even the land the monuments in DC sit on” would belong to the people.

    All they can think of is all that lovely (mythical) oil they can just envision coursing under their children’s playground like a river of gold.

    The entire field of psychiatry was invented to treat people like him.

  26. Son of Krypton says:

    This comment should, alone, be sufficient to remove him from office in the next vote. National Parks were one of the best aspects of Roosevelt’s presidency

  27. Bill Hubbard says:

    It is simply not true that, “upon being chartered,” federal lands were “given to the states.” This happened only in Texas. As for the rest of the in the West, Midwest and the Deep South, most of the federal land is simply land that no one had chosen to purchase or homestead before the grazing acts of the 1930s.

  28. rmwarnick says:

    You can’t “give back” land to state government that never owned the land before. That’s complete nonsense. The privatization policy ran for more than a century, and the public lands we have now are what was left after the most valuable property was taken.

  29. LJL says:

    I’ve been to the inter-mountain West and found it a great big nothing filled with people in an arrested state of development. If they want to buy the federal lands from us, let them pay the asking price in cash, no time payment crap. And then they can frack it all to hell.

  30. EDpeak says:

    Nick, agree but please don’t call it a “defense” dubdget.

    Almost one trillion dollar per year on military (not ‘defense’) spending from pentagon to unfunded wars to energy department and elsewhere, is not making anyone safer, is making the world more dangerous, killing more of our young men and women, and is not “defense” by any reasonable definition.

    If we expect change we have to at the very least not allow ourselves to contribute to Orewllian doubleSpeak