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Jun 29, 2018 33 tweets 18 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
WATCH LIVE: Major speech on public lands policy at @SutherlandInst: “Federal Lands and Royal Forests." facebook.com/SutherlandInst… #utpol #SIPublicLands
How did it come to pass that nearly half of the land in the West is owned by the federal government, compared to just 5 percent of the land in the East? #utpol #SIPublicLands
Throughout the 19th century, Lawmakers sought to facilitate expansion of the nation by acquiring land—and then transferring it to the people, so they could live out their lives as responsible citizens of the republic. #utpol #SIPublicLands
The cornerstone of this policy was the Homestead Acts which transferred 270 million acres of land out of federal control and into the hands of ordinary Americans. #utpol #SIPublicLands
The Homestead Acts were an engine for middle-class opportunity and growth and set the American standard for the disposition of public resources. #utpol #SIPublicLands
But by the time Utah and other states entered the Union, Congress had turned its attention elsewhere. Manifest destiny left us behind. #utpol #SIPublicLands
While Easterners and Midwesterners had almost-total control of the land within their boundaries, Western states like Utah entered the Union on inferior terms – as tenants to negligent landlords. #utpol #SIPublicLands
When Utah came into the Union in 1896, Section 9 of its statehood enabling legislation declared that public land located within the state “shall be sold by the United States subsequent to the admission of said state into the union.” #utpol #SIPublicLands
The promise to sell federal lands in Utah is right there, enshrined in federal law. But, unlike states farther East, the commitment to us was never honored. #utpol #SIPublicLands
Take Illinois and Missouri, for example. At one point, the federal government controlled more than 90% of their land. #utpol #SIPublicLands
While they were ultimately successful in petitioning Congress to transfer their public lands from federal to state management, Western states have not been so lucky. #utpol #SIPublicLands
Fifty, sixty, even seventy percent of the land within Western states’ boundaries was – and remains – controlled by Washington. #utpol #SIPublicLands
The first westerners were optimistic about federal control of western lands. Teddy Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot advocated for active management of the land, in cooperation with local interests. #utpol #SIPublicLands
But in the 60s and 70s environmental activists began exploiting public fears about overpopulation and pollution. #utpol #SIPublicLands
The activists used land-use restrictions as an “all-purpose tool for stopping economic activity,” in the words of political scientist R. McGreggor Cawley. #utpol #SIPublicLands
Between the mid-1960s and 1980, the amount of wilderness rose from 11.5 million acres to 82.7 million acres—an increase of 716% in less than two decades. #utpol #SIPublicLands
The amount of grazing on federal land went into steep decline, causing an exodus from the range that was never reversed. #utpol #SIPublicLands
And in 1976, Congress formalized federal control over federal lands by passing the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. This repealed the Homestead Acts and completely upended federal government’s public land policy. #utpol #SIPublicLands
No longer would it be the official policy of the United States government to sell back the land and entrust it to the people. Instead, the policy would be to keep the land for itself. #utpol #SIPublicLands
Things have only gotten worse since. An even more extreme environmental movement, an alliance of privilege between celebrities, activists, and corporate elites now want to save the Earth at the expense of our rural communities. #utpol #SIPublicLands
They delight in seeing vast swathes of untouched lands, fulfilling their idyllic notions of the West where they can jet in, spend a few days at the cabin, take pictures of animals, and then retreat to their enclaves on the coasts. #utpol #SIPublicLands
Locals aren’t as lucky. While tourism has contributed much to the West, communities can’t survive on it alone. It is a complement to – not a substitute – for broader economic development. #utpol #SIPublicLands
Rural Americans want what all Americans want: a dignified, decent-paying job. A family to love and support. A healthy community whose future is determined by local residents—not by their self-styled betters thousands of miles away. #utpol #SIPublicLands
Our immediate task is to rein in that government and reclaim a space for ordinary Americans to live in freedom. I am working on three specific bills to do just that. #utpol #SIPublicLands
The first, the Protecting Utah’s Rural Communities Act, would protect Utah from future Antiquities Act abuses by giving Utah the same protections currently enjoyed by Wyoming and Alaska. #utpol #SIPublicLands
Specifically, my bill would prohibit the president from designating or expanding a national monument in the state unless both Congress and the state legislature pass resolutions approving the designation. #utpol #SIPublicLands
The second bill I plan to introduce is a new Homestead Act – one to help ordinary Americans in the 21st century. #utpol #SIPublicLands
This “new” Homestead Act would allow states, local governments, and individuals to petition the government to use federal land for affordable housing… or education… or health care. #utpol #SIPublicLands
Finally, our long-term goal must be the transfer of federal lands to the states. And that is the aim of the third bill that I intend to introduce. #utpol #SIPublicLands
Small reforms here and there are important. But we have to start pushing for what we actually want. We must fight to return these lands. #utpol #SIPublicLands
We have the opportunity to honor the promise the federal government made to Utah and Western states when they joined the Union. #utpol #SIPublicLands
When ordinary Americans control their communities and land, it is good for both. When the federal government wields exclusive control, it is good for neither. #utpol #SIPublicLands
Let’s insist on a reassertion of the American people’s control over their government and of their land. #utpol #SIPublicLands

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More from @SenMikeLee

Sep 4, 2018
What is the real context of today’s #SCOTUS hearing? Here are some facts:
Over the next few days, senators will ask Judge #Kavanaugh questions about #SCOTUS cases, his record, and his qualifications. Some of these questions will be fair. Many others will be unfair.
Some of these unfair questions will ask him to promise to vote a certain way in particular cases likely to come before the Court.
Read 18 tweets
Aug 2, 2018
Democrats have made it clear that their goal is to bury the Committee in paper, just to delay a vote. Their minds were made up before Kavanaugh was even nominated. They don’t want to see the papers, they want to see his nomination stalled.
None of these papers will shine light on his legal approach. Being the inbox and outbox for a President doesn’t include giving legal advice; that’s the role for White House counsel, not the Staff Secretary.
The Committee is acting in a manner that is principled and consistent with Senate precedent. All members of the Senate have the ability to fully and fairly review the materials relevant to Kavanaugh’s judicial history.
Read 4 tweets
Jun 14, 2018
The Due Process Guarantee Act would protect U.S. citizens on U.S. soil from being detained indefinitely without charge, counsel, or trial.
@SenFeinstein and I introduced the DPGA in 2012. It passed with 67 votes, but was somehow removed from the NDAA before final passage.
Ever since 2012, @SenFeinstein and I have been trying to put the DPGA back into each year’s National Defense Authorization Act.
Read 22 tweets
Mar 20, 2018
Some quick thoughts on @WSJopinion claims that the War Powers Resolution is unconstitutional: 1/6
The WSJ claims that the War Powers Resolution is somehow unconstitutional, citing no authority other than themselves and saying that presidents since then have regarded it as wrong or unconstitutional. 2/6
Now, that’s not surprising because the whole purpose of the War Powers Resolution was to allow Congress to exercise its power to declare war, so presidents are naturally going to resist efforts to restrict and restrain their power. 3/6
Read 6 tweets

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