Interior Dept. faces resistance in push for more public lands

“By locking up the Atlantic, Pacific and parts of the Arctic, the Obama administration is forfeiting the production of new American energy, the creation of over a million new American jobs and the generation of new revenue.”

~Congressman Doc Hastings

Rob Hotakainen
McClatchy Newspapers
2/15/2012

It’s cost $15 to shoot a duck since 1991, but that will change if President Barack Obama gets his way. Under the president’s new budget proposal, the cost of the federal duck stamp required for hunting would rise to $25 next year, a move aimed at making it easier for the Interior Department to buy more land for migratory waterfowl.

It’s just a small example of how the Interior Department wants to get both larger and leaner in the coming year, relying more on fees and less on tax dollars.

Seeking a budget of $11.5 billion, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has big plans. He wants to make the U.S. the world’s top tourist destination and to get more visitors into the national parks. Appearing before a House of Representatives committee Wednesday, Salazar called the parks “the envy of the world.”

The department, which already controls 20 percent of the nation’s public lands, is proposing to use $212 million in public funds to buy land for more parks and wildlife refuges, including multiple sites to commemorate the Civil War.

In addition, the department wants to buy more land with $450 million from the nation’s Land and Water Conservation Fund, a 30 percent increase from this year’s purchases. It’s a separate fund that doesn’t rely on tax dollars, instead using royalties from oil and gas drilling…

…Critics, including Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, contend that the federal government already has too much property to maintain…

The complete article is a McClatchy.com

H/T  The Washington Times

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