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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Teapot Dome on a Massive Scale

Per the Guardian (h/t Kevin Drum):

Republican lawmakers have quietly laid the foundation to give away Americans’ birthright: 640m acres of national land. In a single line of changes to the rules for the House of Representatives, Republicans have overwritten the value of federal lands, easing the path to disposing of federal property even if doing so loses money for the government and provides no demonstrable compensation to American citizens.
At stake are areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Forests and Federal Wildlife Refuges, which contribute to an estimated $646bn in economic stimulus from recreation on federal lands and 6.1m jobs. Transferring these lands to the states, critics fear, could decimate those numbers by eliminating mixed-use requirements, limiting public access and turning over large portions for energy or property development.
According to the Outdoor Alliance, US public land is the government’s second largest source of income after taxes. In addition to economic stimulus in outdoor activities, federal land also creates revenue through oil and gas production, logging and other industrial uses. According to the BLM, in 2016, it made $2bn in royalty revenue from federal leases.
Ignoring those figures, the new language for the House budget, authored by Utah Republican representative Rob Bishop, who has a history of fighting to transfer public land to the states, says that federal land is effectively worthless. Transferring public land to “state, local government or tribal entity shall not be considered as providing new budget authority, decreasing revenues, increasing mandatory spending or increasing outlays.” 

Land theft like this brought down the Harding administration. Granted, there's no one bribe or one company; this is a whole party being wholly owned by energy corporations, which makes it somehow legal.

We're rolling back the 1900s....

The Republicans are living their dream and the dream of their ancestors -- To rape America. Full stop.

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