Udall champions bill to prevent government sell-off of public lands
July 1, 2014
Mark Udall, chairman of the U.S. Senate National Parks Subcommittee, recently urged his colleagues to support legislation to make it more difficult for shortsighted lawmakers to sell off our nation's public lands to pay the government's bills.
Udall said the proposal would require a 60-vote supermajority for the U.S. Senate to sell any of our nation's treasured public lands, including Western lands that support local economies and activities like hiking, rafting, hunting, angling or mountain biking.
The bill would counter a proposal in the U.S. House of Representatives' recently passed Ryan Budget that supports selling "unneeded acreage" of federal land on the open market.
"Our public lands not only support Colorado's special way of life, but they also are the reason why so many innovative and job-creating industries are located in the Centennial State. Selling our public lands is a shortsighted strategy that ultimately undermines local communities, economies and places that make Colorado such a great place to live, work and raise a family," Udall said in statements. "We need to get our fiscal house in order, but the House Budget would not keep faith with the bipartisan and broadly supported conservation tradition that dates back to President Theodore Roosevelt and the earliest days of the American West."
Colorado sportsmen's organizations lauded the legislation and urged Congress to swiftly take up the proposal.
"Selling off our federal public lands makes as much economic sense as killing the goose that lays golden eggs. Clear Creek County is proud that 74 percent of our land is public and provides a robust recreational economy by attracting tens of thousands of hunters, anglers, hikers, river rafters, mountain bikers, backpackers, campers, skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts that seek out my community year-round for vacations, tours, exercise and relaxation in true western fashion," said sportsman and Clear Creek County Commissioner Tim Mauck. "The Ryan plan demonstrates little knowledge of the economics of our Western landscapes and effectively puts jobs at risk."