This is an interesting article for a lot of reasons. The most important part of the piece comes on page 3: “The United States Senate recently voted 51 to 49 on a nonbonding resolution to sell or give away nearly all federal lands…”
As a former BLM archaeologist, Kathleen can tell you that the federal government tried to sell public lands in 80s. It was called “Asset Management.” It was a money-making scheme then, and probably now. Every time the government needs money, they think about selling off America. Should the government be able to sell American cultural properties to the highest bidder? Do you want China and Saudi Arabia to own one-third of the western U.S.? Even if they outlaw foreign ownership, how about Monsanto or Exxon? Although, in our own home state of Wyoming, it would be more like 50%, since half of the state is public lands.
Want to know why Asset Management was abandoned in the 80s? After the BLM had spent months surveying and analyzing, trying to comply with all the laws mandated to protect cultural, paleontology, geological and other national resources, the government decided it would cost about three as much to sell the lands as it would get for the lands. So…unless the government is planning on ignoring its own laws to protect the public lands, this new scheme is going to fail, as well.
We certainly hope so. Most of the rare archaeological, historical, and paleontology sites in America–which currently belong to the American people–are not found in national parks or monuments, but outside them on other public lands administered by the BLM, Forest Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and other agencies.