Reasons Federal Government Owns Western Land

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    Jan 06, 2016 4:16 AM GMT
    NYT: The United States government owns 47 percent of all land in the West.

    In the early 1900s, cattle farming became a speculative boom because farmers realized that the federal government was basically giving away a valuable free commodity: grass. This quickly became a problem that economists call the “tragedy of the commons.” Everyone was allowed to let cattle graze the millions of acres of public grass. Ranchers, local officials and lawmakers got together and created a law called the Taylor Grazing Act, which effectively created a federal body called the Division of Grazing to manage the grazing of these lands.

    So, why the anger?

    Grumbling about federal control of local lands is nothing new. But research from the Government Accountability Office and the Congressional Research Service suggests that the federal government is a decent, if inflexible, landlord. Compared with private owners, it tends to charge lower rents for grazing and mining permits.

    Some of the land could be sold to individuals, and some has been — the government has sold hundreds of thousands of acres in the last 25 years. But that probably won’t help the protesters. “The ranchers couldn’t afford to buy these lands anyway,” said John Freemuth, a professor of public policy at Boise State University, who studies land-use policy.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/06/upshot/why-the-government-owns-so-much-land-in-the-west.html
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    Jan 06, 2016 10:41 AM GMT
    Sounds like an issue Donald Trump could address but land with no improvements; roads power, No water supply. For private ouwnership the land has to make money somehow to at least to pay the taxes on it.

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    Jan 06, 2016 12:21 PM GMT
    We don't need to sell off every last acre of public land to be turned into ecologically devastating golf courses and cattle ranches and walmarts. Selling the land below market does not suit the common good and basically constitutes government handouts.
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    Jan 06, 2016 5:30 PM GMT
    Good ranching practices promote good stewardship of the land; young ranchers and cattle farmers to be are taught to recognize the natural balance of plant life, which species are foreign and/or invasive, which species are favored by natural vs. farmed grazers, and how to recognize and avoid over-grazing. If anyone needs partisan proof that ranching is not inherently destructive, consider the fact that there are a lot of liberal democratic cattle farmers out there producing organic milk. Are you opposed to organic milk production by democratic farmers? What penalty do you think democratic farmers of organic milk should have to pay for their crimes against the earth? icon_rolleyes.gif

    Anyway, I don't oppose government ownership of government land, but note that several of the ongoing conversations in this forum and/or regarding the current idiot redneck standoff have as much to do with the fact that the feds are in some cases exercising public land governance on some private land for which owners were never paid despite having lost the right to manage their own land in accordance with their previously existing property rights. They are not allowed to manage their land, but they are still legally vested in and liable for it, which I'm sure would make it difficult to sell to another private owner. Some of this land is apparently being described as "federal land" even though it is not federally *owned*.

    Shades of grey, as always. It's only January, and hate season lasts until November. There's plenty of time to blame everyone for everything between now and then. Pace yourselves, everyone.
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    Jan 06, 2016 7:14 PM GMT
    private land, is usually kept fenced by the owner and usually in better condition than open federal land. Forest and or grass lands here are slow growth and dosnt take much to trash the place.