Public lands: What are they good for?



Public lands
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • This map shows National Forest Service lands. Other public lands include those managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service.

With Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan due in to Colorado Springs later today, the newly formed Center for Western Priorities has released some questions constituents might want to ask him.

The group is run by Trevor Kincaid, former communications director for the campaign of U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

But the questions should transcend politics. Here they are:

Question 1: The Romney - Ryan Energy Plan calls for giving states control over energy development on public lands. What lands in Colorado do you think should be conserved for the enjoyment hikers, hunters, anglers, and bikers, not to mention the local businesses and communities that depend on those lands for jobs and revenue? And what lands in Colorado would you specifically open up?

Question 2: Republican President Theodore Roosevelt protected more than 200 million acres of public lands during his time in office, once claiming, "there can be no greater issue than that of conservation." As an avid bow hunter, do you support Roosevelt's vision of America, where millions of acres of forest, parks and wilderness are held in trust for current and future generations?

Question 3: It was just reported that the current oil and gas boom is the direct result of more than $100 million in federal research and development investments, as well as billions more in tax breaks. Why does the Romney — Ryan energy plan block federal funding to develop solar and wind technologies that would create thousands of jobs while providing power to the country, helping to avoid the need to sacrifice more of our public lands?

Question 4: Would a Romney - Ryan administration support locally driven, bipartisan efforts to protect public lands through the designation of new national monuments and wilderness areas?

Question 5: Should decision-making and management of public lands be driven purely by the bottom line of coal, oil and gas, and uranium companies? Or are there other uses that government should actively support and provide for?

Question 6: Mitt Romney has received millions of dollars in campaign donations from the oil and gas industry. In Colorado, he has a 50-person energy advisory committee, more than 40 of which are associated with the oil, gas, or coal industry. Does this create a conflict of interest between a Romney — Ryan administration and responsibly managing our public lands? Do you feel your Colorado energy advisory committee is reflective of all Coloradans?

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