Backpedaling Underscores Land Transfer Problems

That didn’t take long.

Republican Party leaders are already trying to distance themselves from a costly land transfer boondoggle which was supported nearly unanimously at the recent GOP platform convention. This after word is starting to get around about how the land transfer would increase our taxes by hundreds of millions, and inflict a major blow to Montana’s tourism economy especially in communities surrounding Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks like Kalispell, Bozeman, West Yellowstone and others.

Montana Republican Party Vice Chair Jennifer Fielder tried to tell a legislative panel Thursday that a report out-of-state land grab advocates are pushing “does not recommend transferring federal lands to state ownership or management” and that “None of the recommended legislation would transfer [land] either.”

Of course, the facts have already shown otherwise. Just last month Republicans  supported including the land transfer in their party platform – without an exception even for national parks.  And then there’s the fact that not just two of  boondoggle’s biggest cheerleaders, Vice-Chair Jennifer Fielder herself (fast forward to about 45 min in) and Rep. Kerry White (TEA-Gallatin County) have been caught on video supporting the lands transfer.  And video evidence now exists of nearly every Flathead area conservative candidate supporting the transfer: Oops.

Fielder’s swift and very public backpedaling underscores the political difficulties facing this idea.

A recent University of Montana poll found that 2/3 of Montanans oppose the idea, which has already become a defining issue in Wyoming’s top 2014 races (and not in a way that helps TEA Party republicans.)  Utah’s own legislative legal council said the idea is likely unconstitutional (Utah passed a bill to do this which is already facing legal problems.)  The idea faces heavy political opposition a well. As Rep. Bill McChesney (D-Eastern Montana) pointed out during the legislative panel, “This state not for sale.”

This is the second time Republican leadership has had to try to distance themselves from the ideas surrounding this land transfer. At an event promoting the land transfer earlier this year the Missoula Independent reported that a speaker from Defend Rural America called the environmental movement “domestic terrorists.”



8 Comments on "Backpedaling Underscores Land Transfer Problems"

  1. Teabag buffons, didn’t they figure out they’re being ‘played’ by corporate parasites who want to
    make Glacier Park a giant ‘Frac’ farm, same battles our good president TR – REPUBLICAN – fought
    the Gilded Age barons of industry and their ilk.

  2. Fielder is from Noxon, home of the Militia of Montana or MOM as they like to call it. She has actually been involved with the militia in a group called the SNRC or Sanders Natural Resource Council, which the militia leadership admitted on the radio was the name of the current militia group.

  3. Would we still have Glacier, if a railroad corporation hadn’t decided to save this land, for his own greed? The public would never go for a transfer of Federal lands to Montana. Most might agree that we have enough wilderness in Montana.

  4. takeover of public lands
    is in part a meme, a strategy,
    also an orthodoxy,
    BUT OH SO OBVIOUSLY NOT THOUGHT OUT here in Ravalli County, ?and perhaps elsewhere in this State we treasure?

    What’s really thought out is free use of Montana air, waters and land for 50 years, by UNIDENTIFIED (likely foreign based)LIMITED PARTNERS,to convey foreign made solvent dissolved bitumen to one American and six foreign owned refineries sited in tax free zones, at tidewater seaports in Texas.

    so I ask, know of any Montana candidates on November ballot NOT IN FAVOR OF THAT LAND GRAB thought out and very successfully propagandized since 2008???

  5. This proposed land grab is nothing new. There was the Sagebrush Rebellion during Reagan’s administration. And in August, 1946, the usual suspects met in Salt Lake City to organize another attempt to grab federal land.

    Historian Bernard DeVoto exposed that attempted land grab in his classic “The West Against Itself” ( report in the January, 1947, issue of Harpers, where he wrote the Easy Chair.

    The 1940s land grab attempt failed, thwarted by the aroused public that owned, and still owns, the lands. The Sagebrush Rebellion also failed, for the same reasons. The current attempted land grab also will fail.

    So will future attempted land grabs. And there will be future attempted land grabs because the selfish and greedy are always among us, always optimistic that they’ve finally gotten the politics right, and that the time is right, and that converting publicly lands to state, and eventually to private ownership, is their right.

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