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All Montanans hurt by privatizing public land
To recent news articles advocating state takeover of public land, the only phrase that applies is “horse pucky.” Many groups have been involved in this issue since former secretaries of the Interior James Watt and Gayle Norton inspired the “Sagebrush Rebellion” more than two decades ago. Turning over our public land didn’t happen then, and it won’t happen now.
The corporate mouthpieces pushing this new “Sagebrush Rebellion” garbage aren’t telling the rest of the story. Privatizer Terry Anderson touched on it somewhat when he mentioned state land leases going for $80 for a cow-calf unit per month. State leases must be renewed every 10 years.
These high “spite bids” would be a fraction of the bidding war that would occur on prime real estate involving Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service and state school trust land. There may be some millionaires in Montana, but not many billionaires. The latter would outbid even the wealthiest livestock and farm producers in Montana. Billionaires James Cox Kennedy along the Ruby River, Anton Letica on Modesty Creek, Dan and Farris Wilks, Ted Turner and the Cabellas franchise have the billions to outbid any locals.
A lot of farms and ranches would be outbid and go under because these state and federal leases make an important difference in any operation’s profit margin. Federal leases are sold with the ranch or farm operation and are unlike state leases. These corporate privatizers should “stop shoveling this crap.”
We’re not going to buy it.
— Tony Schoonen, Butte
Opening Modesty Road