Friday, February 08, 2013


I just finished reading Daniel Suarez's new novel "Kill Decision".  It is about the future of autonomous weapon drones.  It is a timely read right now as the morality of  using drone attacks against enemies is being debated.  The writer is an expert in IT and former contractor for the intelligence infrastructure of the U.S. Government.  His knowledge of the technology and the direction it is headed paints a very frightening future.  I suggest  you pick it up to see what a game changer this new technology will be.  The problem is that anyone can build one with off the shelf technology and they can blow you up.  This is not just going to be a U.S. weapon.

I ranted yesterday about the efforts of the extractive industries to use P.R. and lobbyists to get New Mexicans to believe it is possible to take over federal public lands.  Think of the oil companies taking over Chaco Canyon.

At times like these it's worth remembering a few key things:

* Article IV, Section 3 of our Constitution gives Congress the exclusive, "Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States;..."

* Exercising its prerogative under this provision of the Constitution, Congress admitted all of the western states to the Union on condition that they disclaim "... all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within the boundaries" of each state.  In other words, the western states are creatures of Congress, which under our Constitution and the enabling acts of each state is responsible for the administration of the federal public lands therein.

* In further exercise of its responsibilities under Article IV, Section III of the Constitution, Congress in 1976 passed the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, which among (many) other things states that, "... it is the policy of the United States that the public lands be retained in federal ownership,..." (43 U.S.C. 1701(a)((1))

In other words, theories propounded by various "states' rights" proponents that somehow the federal lands within the various western state boundaries by right belong to the states are completely contrary to our Constitution, the state enabling acts (and often state constitutions) themselves, and the most recent iteration of general Congressional policy with respect to the federal public lands codified in FLPMA. 

1 comment:

Bubba Muntzer said...

This federal land grab scheme has been tried in at least Utah, Arizona, Colorado and Montana. I Googled "Republican plan to take over federal lands" and "Republican land grab."

Utah Republicans actually got a bill passed that supposedly gave them the authority to take over 30 million acres of federal land, which the governor planned to sell off.

There's quite a bit about it on the internet but I don't see any reporting where anyone has connected the dots. It sounds like one of those ALEC bills, where Republicans and lobbyists get together and write up model legislation that then shows up in one Republican controlled state legislature after another.

With all that law you cite I'm surprised we haven't heard more about this. Surely someone somewhere in the Obama Administration is aware of it. Maybe not.

Has Obama ever been out here? He's probably just flown over the West in airplanes. Maybe when he hears "wilderness" he pictures Grant Park in Chicago.