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Letter to the editor icon2

Letter to the editor icon2

Ignorance on public lands

Politicians running for public office still amaze me, both parties. The subject of transfer of federal public lands to the state who would then sell them (the land board) indicates their lack of knowledge of the history of state lands.

President Lincoln on May 26,1864 signed an enabling act creating the Territory of Montana. On Feb. 22, 1889 the Enabling Act 25 Stat. 676, chs 180,276-284 created the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Washington. These lands then were called public domain and those lands formed state governments. Schools and even our state Capitol sits on what was once public domain.

Montana received 5.2 million acres of surface and 6.2 million acres of subsurface mineral. Surface was sections 16 and 36 of every township and later adjustments were made but the total remained 5.2 million acres. Nevada sold nearly all their state lands dirt cheap with little remaining.

Montana to date has sold 70,000 acres. The Montana Dept of Natural Resources & Conservation is required to manage our land under the multiple-use concept in the Montana Codes.

Federal public lands today BLM and USFS are mandated by public land laws to manage those lands for multiple-use and cannot be sold or transferred. The public land laws also prevent the transfer of any of those federal lands to the state.

These lands are valuable for many uses under the public land laws and cannot be transferred I repeat cannot be transferred. Those laws would have to be changed by Congress first and never will happen The public at large raises their hackles when this is even mentioned. So why do politicians continue to argue among themselves for votes about this?

Secretary of the Interior Zinke stated more than once federal lands will not be transferred to the state. I have to conclude any politician who advocates this is too stupid to run for public office in Montana and will never be elected.

— Jack D. Jones, Butte

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