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Phillip Dean Nehl, 59, died Dec. 10, 2014, in Ketchikan after a long battle with heart failure.
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11/23/2013
Federal lands

Congressman Don Young has the right idea when it comes to state management of federal lands.

Let the states do it.

The federal government really cannot afford to manage its own land. It is critically over spending. It's deficit is in the trillions of dollars, and it is on an unsustainable, insatiable diet of debt.

Young criticized the performance of the federal lands management agencies in Alaska as well as in other states during a House Natural Resources Subcommittee hearing this week.

He has argued that the states would be better able to manage selected federal lands currently managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service.

"States across the country, including Alaska, have a proven record of success in managing public lands, Young said while introducing the State Run Federal Lands Act. "Alaska alone manages millions of acres of state parks, forests, historic sites, a network of trails and public-use cabins."

The act would provide a process for states willing to pay half the cost of management to oversee selected federal lands. The federal government would retain ownership.

Young would like the states, Alaska in particular, to manage the federal forests in hopes of improvements. He cited concerns about the lack of financial resources for the Forest Service and Park Service to adequately deal with fire and pollution in, and insufficient financial resources for, the forests. The states would ease the financial strain, and in exchange, receive management control.

This likely would prevent the parks and public monuments being used as pawns in congressional budget standoffs as occurred earlier this fall. The Obama administration shut down federal facilities to put pressure on the public to encourage Congress to increase the national debt and fund the government for a few months. It is only a matter of months before another shutdown will loom over the nation.

The shutdown affected vacationers and hunters.

The best goverment is local or state government; it is the most accessible and approachable by the people. This puts the power and the responsibility on the people instead of on highly placed political leaders who essentially live and work in ivory towers out of reach by the common person.

The people, not the administration and not congress, should hold the power — in this case the power over the lands.