Sunday, July 17, 2016

Republican platform: Sell off public lands in the West, log national forests - Full Article

Updated 3:10 pm, Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Republican president, Gerald Ford, urged on by GOP Gov. Dan Evans, signed into law legislation creating our wildly popular Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area, between Stevens and Snoqualmie Passes, exactly 40 years ago.

The drafters of the national 2016 Republican platform marked the anniversary by calling for a mass sell-off of federal lands in the West, and stepped-up logging in national forests.

The platform is a kind of Theodore Roosevelt-in-reverse document, which renounces even policies of Ronald Reagan.

Using the 1908 Antiquities Act, Roosevelt created national monuments in spots like the Grand Canyon and the Olympics where state and territorial governments were beholden to mining companies and timber barons.

The 2016 GOP platform would require that national monuments be approved by both Congress and state legislatures.

Roosevelt used his pen to create national forests across the West as a means to preserve public lands from corporate plunder. He expanded the national park system -- the idea that America gave the world.

The 2016 platform would turn public lands back to private interest. In its own words:

"Congress should reconsider whether parts of the federal government's enormous landholdings and control of water in the West could be better used for ranching, mining or forestry through private ownership.

"Timber is a renewable natural resource, which provides jobs to thousands of Americans. All efforts should be made to make federal lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service available for harvesting. The enduring truth is that people best protect what they own..."

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