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Time for local control of most federal lands

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By Paul Gessing

Washington can’t seem to manage much of anything these days. Even before the myriad scandals started to take their toll on the Barack Obama Administration, the government’s inability to manage money and resources was clear to even the most passive observer.
Notable among recent policy failures has been Washington’s inability to find even the smallest reductions in a $3.8 trillion budget — a budget which more than doubled in size in just over 10 years. This failure led directly to the hated “sequester” which, while not actually cutting year-over-year spending, did slow Washington’s growth somewhat.
By and large, Americans have gone on with their lives giving little thought to the over-hyped sequester. However, in an effort to inflict some pain on state governments, the Obama Administration saw fit to cancel royalty payments to the various Western states earlier this year. Royalties are the fees paid by companies that engage in certain activities on publicly-owned land. A vast majority of this money in New Mexico and around the West is derived from the various extractive industries.


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