Myths about state v. federal land ownership

Another opponent of New Mexico’s reasserting control over federally-managed land within its borders has spoken up, this time in the Las Cruces Sun-News. I previously responded to the charge that New Mexico couldn’t financially handle such commitments here, but this author makes another claim that I expect would be common among environmentalists and others who fear such a move: that the states will sell off their newly-acquired federal lands.

Aside from the fact that governments at all levels LOVE to acquire land and property, this might sound like a reasonable fear. One must also account for the large numbers of interest groups — including enviros and sportsmen — who would also completely freak out if any of their desired lands were sold off to private interests.

The reality is that sportsmen are steadily losing access to federal lands as bureaucrats and environmentalists work together to impose limits on their activities. States like New Mexico know that hunting and fishing pay a lot of money for those permits and will be more responsive to their concerns than will Washington.