The “fiscal cliff” has been avoided, but the threats to our public lands will continue and unreasonable suggestions like that of Utah Congressman Rob Bishop and New Mexico Congressman Steve Pearce that we sell our federal public land to pay for America’s debts will not go away. They, and their anti-public land colleagues, will continue advocate selling our public land for non-renewable development.
Americans are proud of their public land. Public land provides many services such as clean water, fresh air and places for recreation and solitude. It also provides for sustainable economic development in the areas where public and more precisely protected public land is abundant.
In the recent Headwaters Economics study, “West is best: Protected lands promote jobs and higher incomes,” it is reported that Western, non-metropolitan counties with more than 30 percent of the county’s land base in federal protected status such as national parks, monuments, wilderness and other similar designations increased jobs by 345 percent over the past 40 years, whereas similar counties with no protected federal public lands increased employment by only 83 percent.
Let’s keep the pressure on Congress that selling off our public land is not the answer to our nation’s budget woes.