As a veteran who served my country, I am concerned about some rhetoric coming from Washington, D.C., concerning public lands. In recent months, Congress has introduced several pieces of legislation that threaten the sanctity of these lands by selling them off or removing much-needed protections.
Specifically, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, introduced HR 1126, the Disposal of Excess Federal Lands Act, which seeks to sell off more than 3 million acres of land in the western United States. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, introduced HR 2852, the Action Plan for Public Lands and Education Act, which would turn 5 percent of public lands over to the respective states. This is nothing more than a giveaway of federal assets worth billions of dollars.
Finally, California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s HR 1581, Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act, seeks to remove needed protections from more than 40 million acres of land, opening these lands up to boom-and-bust ventures such as mining and drilling. This is not what Teddy Roosevelt had in mind when he signed the Antiquities Act.
Veterans care about these lands. These are lands we hunt, fish and hike with our friends and family. They must be protected.