Wednesday, June 07, 2023

Federal government has no right to public lands in states

| January 5, 2006 11:00 PM

To the Editor:

I've written a letter ("confiscation or sovereignty") to various Montana newspapers point out, that there are not legally any "federal forests" or "federal range lands," unless Article "I", Sec. 8, Clause 17 in the Constitution had been complied with! It says, if the state legislature voted to allow the federal government the land requested…and paid for it. These apply also to the matter: Amendments "V" and "IX" and "X."

In the 16 states west of the Mississippi River are virtually all these lands. Why none east of it? Don't think the feds haven't tried. The Supreme Court said "no" to them back n 1993, when New York State was "bullied" to give up its forest land in the northern part of the state to be a federal forest.

We realize most all open lands east of the Mississippi River were settled and farmed long before these government bureaucracies came into being in the late 1800's and early 1900's.

My question asked "why?" Revolves around the "equal footing" of the entry of each of the 47 states that followed the first thirteen, they and their citizens enter statehood "owning all of the lands." The federal government can own only after: by the above stated article and amendment, what the state will allow it for constitutional purposes.

How does this equate to a reduction in federal bureaucracy? This way: the state will have charge over its forests and its range lands. Note: California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska have some forest lands. The bloated federal Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management will have to retire or lay-off all of their "paper-pushing" employees. Hence, the constitution's requirements are complied with.

But, a problem exists. Does this state of Montana or any western state have a "gutsy" governor and an attorney general and a legislature with plain common sense to get the job done, both for their state and the citizens voters or taxpayers which they represent?

A further difficulty is the false belief that only the feds can run a forest or range land. Not so! Right now four states have forests and "they plant trees and put out fires."

Land development: farming, industry, roads, towns and homes means private money invested and a wider tax base for each of these states and its counties. Even the federal government will benefit by more taxes in than out; not that they need it! They take too much now! Fifty cents out of every dollar we make from our wallet or purse and they want more! For what?

Freeman Johnson