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STATES SHOULD MANAGE LANDS

We've noticed articles in small-town newspapers favoring continued federal management of Western and Southwestern lands. It is a convoluted interpretation of the United States Constitution to support the concept that the federal government has a continuing right and responsibility to manage all federal territories.

A complete reading of Article 1 gives this student and devotee of the U.S. Constitution exactly the opposite interpretation. My interpretation of Section 8 is that its intent is to limit the real estate the federal government can own or manage in perpetuity to: post offices, post roads (freeways) and military posts, navy docks, etc., needed for national defense. Plus a limit of 10 square miles for the seat of government at Washington, D.C.The original 13 states exempted themselves from federal overlordship by the limitations listed. Oklahoma and other territories were opened for direct citizen homestead or turned to states' ownership and management. In the late 1800s, Congress began ignoring this constitutional limitation to create expensive duplicate management of real estate in competition with the states - namely, the forest and park services plus control of territories by the BLM and Corps of Engineers. The Supreme Court was derelict in not pointing out the limitations imposed by Section 8.

Some of the Western states have up to 89 percent of their real estate improperly held under federal control. Why are Western states not given real estate control equal to that of the original 13 states?

The current efforts by Congress to defund all federal activity based on previous legislation vs. constitutionally specified responsibility should be cheered by most Americans.

Walter C. Lichfield

St. George