Some people have a really strange concept of “democracy,” and that says a lot about some of the people elected to the Nevada Legislature.
SB413 proposes to designate the last Saturday in September each year as Public Lands Day in Nevada and require the governor to issue a proclamation encouraging the observance of said Public Lands Day.
The resolution accompanying the change in law is a paean to Nevada’s wide open spaces largely controlled by federal bureaucracies headquartered in the Kremlin on the Potomac:
WHEREAS, More than 80 percent of the public lands in this State are owned by the people of the United States and are managed and controlled by various federal agencies for the benefit of all persons living in the United States; and
WHEREAS, The federal public lands in this State include national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, monuments, wilderness areas and public lands managed and controlled by the Bureau of Land Management, the United States Forest Service, the National Park Service and other federal agencies; and
WHEREAS, All public lands located in this State feature a diverse range of landscapes, deserted mining towns where riches were made and lost, lush oases which stand in sharp contrast to surrounding barren lands, isolated ranches that are sometimes the size of small countries and trees which are thousands of years old; and
WHEREAS, The public lands in this State reflect many noble democratic ideals because they are open and accessible to all persons, regardless of whether those persons are rich or poor; and …
Noble democratic ideals? Communal ownership of vast swaths of land lying fallow and largely unproductive is democratic? And it is actually closer to 85 or even 87 percent of Nevada that is federally controlled.
The resolution then goes on to oppose any effort to release even a single square foot of that communally owned land to the state or private ownership:
WHEREAS, Efforts to transfer the federal public lands in this State from the people of the United States into state or private control are contrary to the democratic values of the United States and jeopardize activities such as hiking, camping, hunting, fishing and off-road pursuits; and …
So, there would be no more recreational opportunities if the feds only controlled, say, 70 percent of the state?
Pay no heed to the fact that a report from the Nevada Public Land Management Task Force, which was created by the Nevada Legislature, found that the BLM loses 91 cents an acre on the land it controls, but in the four states that have public trust land revenues amounted to $28.59 per acre. The report estimated that Nevada could net $114 million by taking over just 4 million acres of the BLM’s 48 million acres. Taking over all 48 million acres could net the state more than $1.5 billion — nearly half the annual general fund budget.
It is striking that the sponsors of this praise for and observance of communal ownership are all urban Democrats, save one turncoat independent. Where would these lawmakers be living right now if the federal government had not sold off a few thousand acres of that federal public land over the past decades so those urban areas could grow, adding homes, schools, businesses, parks, roads? Now they want to close the door on those rural communities that would like to annex a few acres for homes and businesses, providing opportunities for their next generations.
When everybody owns something, nobody owns it, and it gets neglected.