Like a mustang tied to a fence post, many westerners for years have resisted Uncle Sam’s control of land they say more properly belongs to states or counties – or to nobody at all except the ranchers, miners, and loggers who work the land for its natural resources.
The tussle over Cliven Bundy’s 400 cows – grazing on federal land, although he refuses to pay the required fees now amounting to more than $1 million – sharpens this debate, which has featured state legislators, county officials, environmentalists, and federal judges (all of whom have ruled against Mr. Bundy).
In Salt Lake City Friday, representatives from Utah, Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, Oregon, and Washington met for a “Legislative Summit on the Transfer of Public Lands.”
“Those of us who live in the rural areas know how to take care of lands,” Montana state Sen. Jennifer Fielder said at a news conference. “We have to start managing these lands. It’s the right thing to do for our people, for our environment, for our economy and for our freedoms.”
In other words, today’s revival of the “Sagebrush Rebellion” is as much about political philosophy as it is about great stretches of the largely-arid territory west of the 100th meridian splitting the Dakotas and running down through Texas.
Read more: CS Monitor