Romney, you may recall, made news in the West earlier this year when he told a Nevada newspaper that “I don’t know what the purpose is” of all this federal land in the West. It would be nice to think he just doesn’t get it, because he’s never spent any time in the free outdoors.
But Romney has since coupled the black hole of his knowledge with support for Republican efforts to end federal control over large sections of the West. The Utah legislature has passed a bill, signed by the governor, that demands that the federal government hand over almost 30 million acres to the state. Other states are looking to follow Utah’s lead, and Romney has cheered their efforts.For those of us who follow federal lands issues, it seems like so much has already been given away, in the form of ridiculously cheap mining and grazing leases, timber sales, water diversions, etc. To imagine the actual privatization of the land itself through state sell-off and destruction. It's tragic to consider, really.
Handing over millions of acres of public land has long been a dream borne on the vapors of single-malt Scotch sipped inside trophy homes in the 1 percent ZIP codes of the West. Usually, the idea vanishes with the vapors. Not this year.Not in the visions of the land barons who will vote for Mitt. Which is why, we suppose, reluctantly, we'll probably vote for President Obama.