Fed Land Grab Upsets Western Governors

Wednesday, 02 Mar 2011 09:18 AM

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A move by the Obama administration to protect wild land has governors in Western states arguing that the federal government is trampling on their state’s rights, the Idaho Statesman reported Wednesday.

During a Tuesday U.S. House committee hearing, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter said the government’s land grab could slow energy and development projects. The states were “totally ignored” when the plan was announced, he said. Otter testified with fellow Republican Gov. Gary Herbert of Utah.

western states land grab
                   Gov. Butch Otter
Last year, the administration said it planned on inventorying federal land holdings across the country to identify and protect wilderness-quality land.

Otter and Herbert expressed concerns that the push to protect more land could be extended without Congress approving it, adding to the millions of acres overseen by the Bureau of Land Management.

Otter said he worried about plans for wind farms and geothermal energy projects proposed for his state. The BLM manages nearly a quarter of the land in Idaho, or about 12 million acres.

“Nobody called me and said, ‘In 60 days or in 90 days or 120 days we’re going to put out this secretarial proclamation, what do you think?’” Otter said. “Even in that short period of time I could have suggested a lot of opposition to it.”

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