Home Daily Blitz How Opponents Sank A GOP Bill To Sell Off Federal Land — And What They Learned

How Opponents Sank A GOP Bill To Sell Off Federal Land — And What They Learned

HELENA, MT - JANUARY 30: People gather at the State Capital for a rally in support of federal public lands on January 30, 2017 in Helena, Montana. Various conservation groups including hunters, anglers, hikers, and horseman gathered to protest the idea of the federal government transferring public lands to the states or selling them off to private individuals or companies. (Photo by William Campbell/Corbis via Getty Images)

The following is an excerpt from Chris D'Angelo | February 26, 2017 | Huffingtonpost.com |

WASHINGTON — Perhaps it was lingering outrage from the election. Or it could have been the explicit language of the bill, which called for the “disposal” of millions of acres of “excess” federal lands.

Whatever the driving force, the backlash to legislation from Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) that would have sold off 3.3 million acres of public land in 10 Western states was swift and fierce. Outrage erupted on Facebook and Twitter, advocacy groups urged supporters to bombard their congressional representatives’ phone lines, and a petition opposing the sale or transfer of public lands drew tens of thousands of signatures.

Less than two weeks after introducing the controversial bill, Chaffetz pulled it, citing concerns from his constituents. Advocates fighting to protect public lands celebrated it as a victory.

“The first takeaway is that the squeaky wheel still gets the grease,” said Land Tawney, the president and CEO of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, a Montana-based nonprofit dedicated to protecting public lands and preserving America’s tradition of hunting and fishing.

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