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Climate change, apparently, prompted our ancestors to extinction, the results of the study



Federal influence is particularly significant in the western United States. In 11 states from the Rockies to the Pacific coast, the federal government owns more than 45% of all land. In Alaska, he owns more than 60%.

This year, voters have an impressive choice. President Donald Trump takes office, committed to “deconstruction of the administrative state“His administration sought to reduce environmental planning and regulation and expand private development in search of”

;energy dominance. “

The US government controls many types of protected lands and subsoil, such as oil and gas, mainly in the western states. BLM / Wikipedia

In contrast, Vice President Biden’s proposals for public lands remain broad, but largely in line with the Obama administration’s priorities. The most significant difference is Biden’s promise to stop renting new fossil fuels on state lands.

How would each candidate fulfill these promises? As I will explain in my new book, “This land is my land: Uprising in the West, “public lands are a microworld of modern polarized American politics.

Major conservatives and industrial corporations want it reducing regulation and increasing resource utilizationwhile the more militant anti-federal element of the Republican Party demands termination of state ownership of land in general. On the left, the main Democrats want carefully regulated land management increased reserves of environmental protection, but a vocal progressive wing demands from the federal government store its fossil fuel in the ground. This tension raises the question of how far each candidate will go.

Republicans: less regulation, more development

Because Ronald Reagan ran 40 years ago as self-proclaimedWormwood rebellious“Those who supported the return of control of state lands back to the western states, Republicans united around recruitment common state priorities of lands. These include reducing federal regulation, limiting environmental reviews, and increasing the use of natural resources.

This approach has attracted support from natural resource industries, resource-dependent communities and a growing number law firms of public interest,, analytical centers,, advocacy groups,, foundations and political action committees. Their main libertarian belief is that downsizing leads to prosperity.

The Trump administration has championed these priorities through actions that include the demolition of several national monuments expand oil leases; preparing for to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil production; and narrowing environmental reviews of major federal actions. The full impact of these actions is difficult to assess, as many face problems in the court where the administration is dealing passed badly. But their theme is clear: There are public lands open for business.

As part of these efforts, the Trump administration moved the headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management from Washington, DC, to Grand Junction, Colorado. The agency has tried to complete the new buildingwhich it shares with several oil and gas companies.

The vocal element of the Republican Party challenges the federal government’s authority to own and manage state lands in general. Some lawyers participated in armed confrontation with federal authorities. Several western states adopted legislation over the last decade, demanding that the federal government transfer ownership of state lands and mineral rights to them.

President Trump has met this extreme wing without adhering to explicit demands. He showed support by appointing conservative activist William Perry Pendley as acting director of the Land Management Bureau in July 2019, a move recently taken by a federal court in Montana. the rules were illegal as it bypassed the confirmation hearing. Pendley was famous strong opposition to state ownership of land and years of litigation over public land management.

The President also pardoned controversial figures who are covered by opponents of state land power, including former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpayo and two Oregon herders convicted of arson of federal property.

Despite the loss of his administration in court, I hope that if President Trump is re-elected, he will continue this path of deregulation, resource development and respect for conservative Western interests, with periodic gestures of support for more radical conservatives.

Democrats: science management with limited development

Recent Democrat presidents, from Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama, have defended federal environmental laws governed by public land management, such as the Law on National Environmental Policy and the Law on Endangered Species. Democratic administrations have emphasized scientific monitoring and regulatory oversight, while supporting the development of energy and the use of other commercial resources of state lands.

Vice President Biden is long environmental record and election promises invite him to continue this approach. Biden promised change the deregulation efforts of the Trump administration,, restore the boundaries of national monuments and manage the development of energy on public lands in this way promote the development of wind and solar energy and gradually gradually stop the development of fossil fuels.

But the Biden administration will also face tensions in the Democratic Party. Progressives call more dramatic action to slow down climate change, including bans on fracturing for oil and gas production and lease of new oil, gas and coal on public lands. Biden signaled powerful support for this agenda, but insists on hydraulic fracturing and fossil fuel development will continue the current lease.

Then the Biden administration is likely to seek to restore the legacy of President Obama’s state lands and go beyond it with stricter restrictions on fossil fuel production.

Everyone loves the outdoors

These drastically different visions may obscure the fact that there is a significant commitment to public lands, especially as places for hunting, fishing, camping and other recreation. This consensus became apparent when Congress adopted Congress The Great American Outdoor Law of 2020 in July with strong bipartisan support. Looking at the polls, President Trump boasted that signing the bill made it so the greatest environmental president since George Washington.

In my opinion, this bill was popular because it did not address controversial issues such as energy regulation or development. Instead, he allocated billions of dollars to maintain roads, trails, tourist centers and other state land infrastructure. It also guaranteed ongoing funding for Land and Water Conservation Fund, which uses money from federal royalties for fossil fuels to protect valuable land and water from development.

This combination suggests that state ownership of land and fossil fuel development will be part of the next administration. But the election will determine how these resources will be managed and who will have the greatest impact on the process.

James R. Skillen is Associate Professor of Environmental Research, University of Calvin.

Disclosure statement: James R. Skillen is a member of the Public Lands Foundation.

Posted with permission from Conversation.

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