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The Republican War on Public Lands


This is a good overview of the Trump administration’s war on public lands, which I think is a misnomer because this is one of the many Trump proposals that is now bog-standard Republican ideology. It’s also worth noting that the war on public lands is part of the broader war on anything public at all. The privatization of everything is the goal because for Republicans, other than making liberals cry, the top goal is profit for the 1 percent. And if Republicans get their way and the U.S. was to sell all the public lands to the states, that’s exactly what would happen. The states could not afford to manage these lands at all. They would sell them to oil and gas companies. The biggest landowner would become the Mormon church, which is already the largest private landowner in the nation. It would use this western land for massive cattle ranches, primarily.

The article is reasonably optimistic that Trump will not actually undo the national monument designations. I think this is a bit too hopeful. It’s true that there’s no real precedent for the president completely eliminating monuments unilaterally, although there is precedent for boundary adjustments that shrink them. But it’s pretty obvious that Trump and his minions don’t care about legal precedent so going all the way is entirely possible. And even if they don’t go in this direction, they can still do a whole lot of damage.

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