Most Americans know someone whose life is governed by avarice, or greed, that intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth and power. If nothing else, Republicans and the people they represent epitomize avarice in that there is nothing they will not take from the American people. Over the past six years Republicans have taken unemployment benefits, retirement, overtime pay, equal rights, voting rights, food, and healthcare from Americans to hand over to their wealthy donors. Now, they are involved in a scheme to take federal land that belongs to the government and the people to enrich the Koch brothers due to the billionaire’s greed for wealth and power.
Last month Two Colorado Republicans, state Senator Kent Lambert (Colorado Springs) and state Representative Stephen Humphrey (Severance) began pushing a Koch bill, SB 39, calling for “joint jurisdiction” with the Federal government over national forests and Bureau of Land Management land. It is unclear how a state can have “joint jurisdiction” over land it does not own and has no claim to, but the Colorado Republicans’ effort is a first step in a much more ambitious scheme; seizing and handing authority over federal land to the billionaire Koch brothers to drill for oil, mine, and log without “interference” from the federal government.
The Colorado bill is part of an ongoing Koch-funded and driven initiative started by Utah Republicans for Republican-controlled states to seize control of public lands from the federal government to open them up to oil, mining, and logging interests; interests, by the way that are wholly-owned and operated subsidiaries of Koch Industries. The Colorado Republicans claim, like most Republican-governed Western states that the Koch brothers will better manage the land without federal government interference; government interference includes regulations from environmental and conservation agencies as well as interference by President Obama who has authority to designate pristine ecological and archeological sites as “federally protected” land; something the Kochs and Republicans are not going to tolerate any longer.
When the land is seized by the state, the federal government will have no regulatory authority over what will have effectively become privately-held land including all BLM land, wilderness areas, and national parks; all areas Republicans and the Kochs complain bitterly should be opened up to unrestricted exploitation. This is not a new development and is part of an ongoing conservative campaign asserting that the federal government has no right to own, or claim authority over, any land in any state; particularly Republican-led Western states.
There is a concerted effort underway in every Republican-governed Western state to seize government property to satisfy the greed of the Kochs who, with their Republican puppets, have panted to exploit all federal land, including federally-protected wilderness areas and national parks, for profit for decades. In fact, in 2012 Utah Mormons passed a law demanding that the federal government cede its ownership, and immediately turn over the titles, of all federal lands in Utah including all wilderness areas and national parks to Republicans to sell off to the Kochs to have free rein to “manage” as “owners” and be exempt from federal oversight.
Utah, Colorado, and several Western states have already revealed their plan to pay for the cost of managing their newly-seized federal lands, including national parks, by leasing or selling national forest land to lumber and paper companies that are owned by the Kochs to be logged without interference from the overreaching federal government. They also plan to sell underground mineral rights to the oil and gas industry for unregulated drilling, and allow mining companies to have unrestricted access in federally-protected, pristine lands such as designated wilderness areas and of course national parks that are on land Republicans, the Kochs, and cretins like Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy claim the federal government has no legal right to own or regulate. This is in spite of the simple fact the federal government purchased and holds the titles to the land which makes it the American public’s land.
Americans surely remember that Cliven Bundy summoned armed militias to wage war on federal officials last year because he claimed the federal government had no authority to remove his cattle that were illegally grazing on its own land; shortly thereafter he repeated the same claim over federal land in Utah despite he lives in Nevada. When Utah Republicans objected to being prohibited from riding all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) through federally-protected archeologically-historical Indian burial sites on BLM land, Bundy’s supporters made an illegal ride through Recapture Canyon in southeastern Utah anyway. Bundy summoned like-minded criminals with the message that “We need to re-establish who is in control of the land. This is your next stand. Will you be there to help them like you helped us?”
Republicans have spent the past six years taking nearly everything from the American people to provide more wealth for the greed-driven and power-hungry Kochs. They have also taken away Americans’ equal and civil rights for their religious base that the Koch brothers heavily fund. Republicans have even taken Americans’ right to vote away to give control of the government to the Kochs, and now they are on a crusade to seize federal land to give to the Kochs to satisfy their greed. Obviously, there is little left for Republicans to take from the people to give to the Kochs, so they have turned their attention to seizing American public’s federal land and like everything they have seized or stolen, it is to satisfy the greed and lust for power of the Koch brothers.