Montana is blessed with expansive public lands rich with wildlife, mineral reserves,
and abundant, renewable natural resources. Proper management of these lands is essential to our economy, environment, health, safety, and the way of life we love.
Unfortunately, the fate of over 27 million acres of public land in Montana relies on a Washington DC bureaucracy that has grown out of touch with Montana values and increasingly incapable of taking proper care of our lands.
A shift to thoughtful, accountable local stewardship of public lands will provide the people who live here, and are affected most by the decisions, with a much greater say in how the lands and resources are managed.
Watch both sides of the debate about
freeing our public lands from federal bureuacracy HERE
SJ-15, MONTANA'S STUDY OF FEDERALLY MANAGED LANDS:
In 2013, the Montana legislature affirmed our concerns with the condition of federally managed lands and resolved to find remedies via SJ-15, a resolution I introduced to authorize a state study seeking measures to help ensure these lands are managed responsibly and prudently for present and future generations.
The legislature began implementation of the study in the summer of 2013 by surveying all Montana counties comprised of 15% or more federally managed lands. The County Survey Responses revealed significant problems and threats related to federal land management throughout Montana.
A draft Study Matrix was utilized by the legislative SJ-15 Working Group to outline the concerns, desired corrections, barriers, and solutions under consideration. The final report is scheduled to conclude by Sept 15, 2014 at which time recommendations will be forwarded to the legislature and agencies.
Here is an article which includes a 30 minute Video Update on SJ-15 as I recapped the status of the study at a Pubic Meeting in Flathead County Dec 16, 2013.
Although the SJ-15 working group considered a variety of solutions, one of the more comprehensive ideas presented to the legislature's Environmental Quality Council (EQC) is transferring federally managed public lands to the state. The leading expert on this subject, Rep Ken Ivory of Utah, was a guest speaker at the Montana State Capitol on 1/8/14. You can view Audio and Video of the EQC's Official SJ-15 Status Report and Panel Discussion (index item 15 at approximately the 4:05:00 hour mark).This hearing included a diverse panel who debated federal land issues and transfer of lands to the state, as well as public testimony from numerous citizens and county commissioners who attended the hearing.
UNDERSTANDING STATE & LOCAL JURISDICTION RELATED TO FEDERALLY MANAGED LANDS:
State and local governments have more jurisdiction than most realize. Here is the Success Story of Apache County, AZ -- a county who understood their lawful jurisdiction to protect the Health, Safety, and Welfare of their citizens.
IS TRANSFER OF FEDERALLY MANAGED LANDS TO THE STATES THE ONLY SOLUTION BIG ENOUGH?
The American Lands Council, which I am now a volunteer for, has produced extensive information about the legal, economic, and environmental advantages of transferring federally managed lands to the states, a step many feel is the only solution big enough. For more info visit www.AmericanLandsCouncil.org.