Paul Bonnifield: Public lands issue vitally important
September 28, 2016
The article “Donald Trumps Jr. revs crowd” was revealing. Donald Trump Jr. was to present a “candid conversation on public lands,” but instead. he only double talked — telling everyone what they wanted to hear. He is a sportsman, and “we’re going to make sure we can take advantage of our natural resources, and we can keep our public lands open for the outdoorsmen.”
Either he is not aware of the depth and complexity of the issue or he is a master of saying nothing and sounding like he is saying everything.
The U.S. House has passed various legislation to sell the public lands, turn them over to the states or give them to counties and local governments. During the last session of the Colorado Legislature, the Senate passed a bill that would hamstring any federal effort to administer the public lands.
At a federal level, due to our heavy dependence on federal lands for tourism, agriculture and personal enjoyment, no issue in the current election is more important. Voters must know the candidates’ positions on the future of national forests, BLM and national parks. All of us have a deep personal and community stake in the outcome of the issue.
Due to its importance, the Steamboat Pilot & Today must insist that each candidate for U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, State Senate, state legislature and county commissioner submit an article (600 words) on their position and their justification for it. The Today should publish their positions in side-by-side articles. That way voters will have a clearer understanding of which candidate best represents them.
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The stakes on the future of public land are too high to let the issue simply slip by.