Despite former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt’s contention that a bill proposed by Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy is a “giveaway of our great outdoors,” Republicans maintain the plan is about preventing environmental degradation, according to conservative website Townhall.com
The Bureau of Land Management estimates much of the land belonging to the federal government sits unmaintained, underused and faces degradation because tens of billions of dollars in projects remain frozen.
Both conservatives and conservationists should welcome the legislation, designed to open up some of those public lands to development, says Townhall.com.
Development in the context of the McCarthy bill does not mean selling pristine parcels to corporate giants who intend to bulldoze and build. The intention is for the government to sell the land in trust.
Specifically, McCarthy wants to open approximate 50-million acres of public land for responsible resource development, healthy forest management, logging, and grazing — all of which would create jobs.
The United States owns nearly 30 percent of its surface area and it’s been proven that massive bureaucracies fail as good stewards, the website said, noting lands left unlogged and ungrazed likely will cause wildfires.
Contracting with the private sector for much-needed assistance makes good sense, according to Townhall.com.
Babbitt disagrees. “Simply put, it trades protection of wildlife habitat, clean water and clean air for corporate profits. It is nothing more than a giveaway of our great outdoors,” Babbitt said.
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