Many Western states are largely owned by the federal government. Its a massive victory for state’s rights that numerous governments are discussing a takeover of federal domains. Such a colossal realignment of territory would represent a major shift to local interests, breaking a cycle of harmful resource exploitation that’s been a hallmark of the economy for 200 years on this side of the Rockies.
Since the Cliven Bundy standoff and revival of the Sagebrush Rebellion, the relinquishment of federal land has become the battle cry of many in the West. Lead by Utah governor Gary Herbert, with strong support in Nevada and Idaho, the acquisition of tremendous swaths of backcountry, including rivers and entire mountain ranges, is a reality for state politicians bold enough to retake the future of their territories.
The benefits, in the form of mineral reserves, timber, and public land sales is likely underestimated, potentially amounting to many hundreds of billions in untapped revenue. Remember, Montana has more land area than Germany, with a fraction of the population.
This article only discusses current state revenues from federal lands and fails to entertain the expansive prospects of opening relinquished territory to public development, which could include everything from subsurface exploration to a renewal of homesteading. Its still a good read and represents a landmark in state sovereignty.
via Billings Gazette
Determining the cost to the state of Montana to take over management of roughly 25 million acres of federal land within its borders is no easy task, but a back-of-the-envelope calculation puts such a deal at close to half a billion dollars.