The Issue of Federal Land Management in the West

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The federal government has had numerous controversial issues pertaining public lands in the West. It controls and regulates largeacres 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 been ineffective unfruitful and at times of negative impact: The American West States should take over the management of public land for several reasons:

Losses: Lands operated in the West by the Federal government are loss-making entities whole those operated by states generate profits. The state has incentive to make land profitable when they have control hence federal government should surrender.  

Excessive bureaucracy: the procedural and regulatory requirements placed on federal land are time-consuming and very challenging affecting the ability of skilled managers to implement long-lasting profit generating projects. These requirements on the planned use of land and environment protection end up becoming the major focus of federal government instead of using the land profitably (Culhane, 2013). Handing over land management to states would see these challenges removed. The effect of poor management has led to increased fuel levels, which are expensive to control.

Better management and profitable: challenges facing government control including bureaucracy are placed by the states themselves and once the land is in their control, these challenges will be removed. The effect is a better management and improved responsibility that will translate to higher profits and returns than would ever been made by the federal government. Control would also be easier since the states have a closer interaction with the people and will easily address issues in a better manner than the central government. According to Bui and Sanger-Katz (2016), state management would augment responsiveness to local needs on profitable land utilization. The frustrations of the federal government is partly because the state’s leaders and residence belief their resources are being repatriated to other jurisdictions.    

            According to Outka (2016), states and locals will have control over the land and using the unique understanding of the region provide services and land use that meets unique needs of the people. The effect is the change from loss-making to profit-making financial and use. The federal government should accept its inability to make land in the west profit-generating ventures owing to its irresponsive to local needs and lack of state-federal government common vision for these lands. The infighting between the two levels of government has reached levels that cannot allow those lands to add any profit and should be surrendered to states to manage and promote its contribution to the local economy.        

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. The costs to the states of running the land would amount to $275 million a year (Bui and Sanger-Katz (2016). 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 and help from the federal government to meet an increased burden.



 Bui, Q. & Sanger-Katz, M. (2016). Why the government owes so much land in the West. The New York Times.

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


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