The recent standoff between ranchers and federal officials at the Clive Bundy ranch in Nevada has revealed the absurd control of state lands by the federal government. The feds "own" over 80% of Nevada, about 50% of California, and a massive portion of Alaska. Several other western states, like Utah and New Mexico, are also affected. See here for more details.
How the feds can own large portions of individual states is appalling. The ownership and control of these lands provides the federal government with the power to regulate and control the economies of these states, and is inconsistent with the "equal footing" of the states upon admission to the Union.
Now, however, representatives of the western states are meeting to discuss how to take control of their lands from the federal government. The feds "ownership" of lumber and mineral rights within the states gives them an enormous source of revenue, and hence, power over the states, and denies the states rights to benefit from these resources.
Something must be done, and the western states are beginning to think about what to do.
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