Western Lands Update Winter 011 Vol. 15 #
exchange. Simply being so identied at theplanning level, however, does not meanthat a parcel will or should be sold—it mayultimately be ound unsuitable or sale ormay be undesirable or private purchase.As Erica told the Committee:
“These parcels were not ‘ready to go’ even then. According to BLM ‘…manylands identied appear to have confictswhich may preclude them rom beingconsidered or disposal…’ Furthermore,the circumstances around much o the landlisted … may have changed dramatically inthe 14 years since it was compiled.Some parcels may already have beensold, while others may now be consideredunsuitable or disposal—and all o themwould have to undergo up-to-date apprais-als and analyses, which cannot be doneovernight.”
Through our monitoring work, weknow that despite the political rhetoric,communities value their public lands anddon’t want to lose them. We were able toprovide concrete examples—such as landsmanaged by the Redding, Caliornia eldoce designated or disposal in the lastRMP that are now being integrated intoa trail network and will be kept in publichands. Erica testied:
“In reality, those most likely to be ad-versely aected by a broad-brush, expedit-ed disposal o ederal land are not environ-mentalists and public-interest groups suchas ours, but members o the communitywho have a day-to-day relationship withtheir public land.”
Ironically, proposals to sell o publiclands increase during economic downturnswhen demand is low, land value is de-pressed, and their sale would have the leasteect on the decit. Chaetz would haveus believe that communities and would-bepurchasers around the West are clamoringor public lands to be put on the market,but demand is currently stagnant.The proposal may pass in the House,but it is unlikely to get anywhere in thecurrently Democratic Senate. Should theRepublicans secure a majority in bothchambers in 2012, the prospects o passageor schemes like this may greatly increase,and public land advocates will have to stayon their toes.
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Janine has been invited to be part o a panel at a renewable energyconerence in Long Beach, Caliornia in February. The Solar POWER-GEN conerence will be attended by solar manuacturers, investors,consultants, architects, and wonks. Janine will be participating inthe panel “US Solar on Public Lands: Aligning Conservation andDevelopment Interests,” and will be speaking about the impacts o BigSolar on public lands.