Are Nevadans ready to join with other Western states and petition Congress to finally release federal public lands to the states? Half of the West is controlled by Washington. The states can’t tax it. The states have no control over how it is used — for mining, oil exploration or agriculture. Royalties from the land must be shared with the other states.
Are our representatives, our Legislature, our governor and our local governments ready to sign onto this petition by the Western states?
It is of pressing moment that the public lands should become the property of their citizens, with the least delay compatible with the national interest. The numerous petitions, memorials, and legislative resolutions, heretofore presented from them, evince the lively and anxious concern with which the present state of things impresses them.
If these lands are to be withheld from sale, which is the effect of the present system, in vain may the People of these States expect the advantages of well settled neighborhoods, so essential to the education of youth, and to the pleasures of social intercourse, and the advantages of religious instruction. Those States will, for many generations, without some change, be retarded in endeavors to increase their comfort and wealth, by means of works of internal improvements, because they have not the power, incident to all sovereign States, of taxing the soil, to pay for the benefits conferred upon its owner by roads and canals.
When these States stipulated not to tax the lands of the United States until they were sold, they rested upon the implied engagement of Congress to cause them to be sold, within a reasonable time. No just equivalent has been given those States for a surrender of an attribute of sovereignty so important to their welfare, and to an equal standing with the original States.
Did I neglect to mention that the Western states are Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida? Or that the year the petition was issued was 1828?
Today the federal government controls only 4 percent of the lands in those “Western” states, while it controls 50 percent of the current Western states.
This American Lands Council video explains the current situation: