Benefits of Federal Land Transfer to the States

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The federal government has had numerous controversial issues pertaining public lands in the West. It controls and regulates large acres of land including wildlife conservation, oil and gas drilling, mining and logging. The federal government also owns large portions of the deserts, forests and other rural areas of the American West (Culhane, 2013). Research indicates that management from the federal state has turned out to be ineffective unfruitful and even detrimental to the land itself. The American West states should take control greater public lands because:

High costs, poor returns -The federal government invest high costs on the lands and ends up generating poor returns. At the same time, similar state-owned lands returned more or even better land results in areas such as rangeland resources and use of the forest.

Layers of red tape-Federal land managers have experienced numerous challenges in trying to bring their expert skills to bear fruit in using the land. Requirements for environmental impact statements, land use strategies among other regulatory and procedural steps have mounted a suffocating burden of red tape (Culhane, 2013). Large volumes of excess fuels have overstocked the poorly managed forests in the American West. The waste has turned out to be an environmental threat that calls for forest fire suppression which is relatively expensive.

Wasted energy opportunity-in the recent years, United States has been experiencing energy revolution courtesy of the new techniques of extracting oil and gas. However, this revolution has bypassed the public lands to a larger extent due to lack of incentives and burdensome federal land bureaucracy. The large flows of unutilized federal money pose an important economic asset for the rural West. 

Better management and profitability-If the West were to decide to assume greater control of public land, the states would be in a position to improve the quality of control and management at a low cost and earn higher revenues as compared to the federal government. This is highly possible because they would be free of federal judicial micromanagement.It would also be free of the numerous rules and regulatory entanglements that have crippled effective federal management of the public lands in the West.

Through transferring public land to the states, there will be more revenue generation and improved management. The federal public lands will become state public land to be managed in line with plans structured by individual states and localities (Outka, 2016). The states will be in a position to own and control public lands and create wealth unlike the ones under the federal government that are loss-making. The individual states and localities will be more sensitive to economic and environmental remunerations of well-tended public lands and enhanced access. This is contrary to the federal government that is less responsive to the needs of the people and the environment at large. 

On the other hand, the federal land transfer would expose the state government to an enormous, intricate range of existing federal laws and subject it to the ups and downs of one-sided politics. Due to the numerous revenue resources, admiration priorities and red tape will be an added financial role to the state government which might turn out to be difficult in the long run. Management of public land at the state level will call for effective governing through use of effective tools and appropriate solutions to handling tax money.


Culhane, P. J. (2013). Public lands politics: Interest group influence on the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. London: Routledge.

Outka, U. (2016). State Lands in Modern Public Land Law. Stan. Envtl. LJ, 36, 147.

August 01, 2023



Political Science

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