Santorum supports sale of federal lands in Idaho and the West, citing profits, better management

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum told a Boise audience Tuesday night that he would work with Congress to transfer federal lands to states and sell lands to the private sector.

Santorum said the federal government "doesn't care" about its western lands and could make money and improve management by shedding ownership, an idea reminiscent of the "Sagebrush Rebellion" of the 1970s and 1980s.

About one quarter of the U.S. land mass is owned by the U.S. government.

An audience member asked Santorum about his view of "turning land over to the states." He replied that the one national forest in Pennsylvania, a state he represented for 12 years in the U.S. Senate, was poorly run.

He said national parks like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon belong in federal hands, but that vast tracts of other lands would be appropriate for transfer or sale.

Pennsylvania's Allegheny National Forest has 513,000 acres, about one-fifth the size of the Boise National Forest. The federal government owns 33.7 million acres in Idaho, almost 64 percent of the land mass. Of that, national forests comprise 20.5 million acres and the Bureau of Land Management holds 11.9 million acres. The state owns another 5 percent, leaving 31 percent of Idaho privately owned.

About 2 percent of Pennsylvania is comprised of federal lands, including 18 units of the national park system, seven national heritage areas, 27 national natural landmarks and 161 national historic landmarks.

I've asked the Mitt Romney campaign for comment, and solicited reaction from Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and Idaho's all-GOP congressional delegation. Otter and Sen. Jim Risch are Mitt Romney's Idaho co-chairs and Rep. Mike Simpson has endorsed Romney. Sen. Mike Crapo and Rep. Raul Labrador have yet to endorse a candidate.

Here's what Santorum, who served 12 years in the U.S. Senate representing Pennsylvania, had to say:

"We've been very blessed in Pennsylvania. We don't have a lot of federal lands in Pennsylvania. We have one federal national forest and it's about as badly managed as you can possibly imagine. I had more fights over this little plot of land up here, the Allegheny National Forest, and so I can only imagine, as I did because I experienced it, what the problems (were) with BLM, the problems with the Forest Service and a whole host of other agencies that the states that are heavily populated with federal lands have to deal with.

"My feeling is there are obviously very important critical areas of our country that should be under the purview of the federal government. No one's trying to turn Yellowstone over to the private sector or the states, or the Grand Canyon or anything else.

"But there's a lot of land out there that is land that can and should be managed by stewards who care about that land. I believe the land is there to serve man, not man there to serve the land. If we turn that, obviously, BLM, they just don't — look, we're not going to have the resources to manage this land correctly. The federal government doesn't care about it, they don't care about his land. They don't live here, they don't care about it, we don't care about it in Washington. It's just flyover country for most of the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.

"We need to get it back into the hands of the states and even to the private sector. And we can make money doing it, we can make money doing it by selling it. So I believe that this is critically important.

"We do not need this huge amount amount of federal land under federal purview and I would be happy to work with your senators and congressmen out here in the West to put a plan together that's going to have a much more responsible management of land in the West than we've had in the last many years, OK?"

You can follow Idaho Statesman Politics on Twitter.

1329338085 Santorum supports sale of federal lands in Idaho and the West, citing profits, better management Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Public lands

Yes Mr Santorum you are very blessed in Pennsylvania because if you want to go hunt, fish, camp or just explore you have to pay or ask permission to do so on private lands. Leave our public lands alone.Though the system is not perfect its better than the alternative.

Mr. Santorum, all four of you are wasting so much money

You may have to enroll in Medicare to afford your meds.

If Astra Zeneca won't help.


Believe in yourself. At least you won't troll yourself in blogs.

This speaks volume about this guy - He wants to sell off

the federal land in Idaho. Other than selfish resource exploiters, why would Idahoans ever want sell off the public land? The land is right here in our backyard and everybody else in the country pays the bill to manage it. We have the best deal on the planet. If you are from Idaho and agree with selling off the public lands, you are either some rich fat cat trying to hoard land to exclude the public or a moron. Which are you?

Grangeville and Lewistion will have to join Washington state.

Gee, it will be like the Czech Republic!


Believe in yourself. At least you won't troll yourself in blogs.

Oh no!

I won't be voting for him. I lived in the midwest for 4 years and found that there are no public spaces. It is all private land. There is no way to get away. That's why I returned to the West. There's nothing like being able to drive for an hour or so and get away from it all on land that belongs to all of us. No way Mr. Santorum.

If Obama is re-elected and

If Obama is re-elected and has his way, you won't be driving beyond Lucky Peak in your pricey little electric car.

Seriously, I grew up in Ohio for the first 23 years of my life. Moved to Idaho for 8 years before returning to Ohio and Michigan for the next 8, and since then have been in and out of Idaho a few more times living in Nevada, California (mostly at Lake Tahoe) and a short stint for 3 months in Boulder, Colorado. Needless to say, I have traveled through or vacationed in many other states, though I still haven't visited all 50 states. A spouse's employment explains all my exits from Idaho, and my stubborn determination explains all of my returns. You might say I fell in love with Idaho shortly after setting foot on its soil the first time and have never wanted to live anywhere else if I could avoid it.

Having said that, I think some of your remarks about the midwest are misleading. If you drove for an hour or two in most states east of the Mississippi, you would likely be in another state assuming you were traveling border to border. There are plenty of public spaces in the midwest, in the Appalachian states, and in some of the eastern seaboard states, and there are plenty of environmental groups trying to confiscate private lands for restricted public use. The spaces are simply different, often smaller and cramped, because of the geography and the huge populations that share them. I wouldn't attempt to compare the Sawtooths with the shores of Lake Michigan or the northern peninsula (which is pretty wild) because they each have uniquely beautiful characteristics. I love the hardwood forests in southeastern Ohio, West Virginia, Tennessee, etc. most of which were clear cut at one time as were the pine forests around Lake Tahoe.

There's a reason why Idahoans identify strongly with the lyrics to an old 30s or 40s song: give me land, lots of land, under starry skies above, don't fence me in! We have a tremendous amount of land, both wide open spaces and miles and miles of forest, and a very small population sharing all of it. There's also a reason why we have less industry and fewer good paying jobs in this state - 64% of the land can't be developed and produces no taxes for public services such as schools. The money we get back in the form of federal grants with many strings attached doesn't begin to offset the loss of taxes and jobs. At the same time there are tens of millions of people in our urban states and inner cities who pay taxes to support our privileged lifestyle who will never have the time or money to visit Idaho. I think we could strike a better balance without giving up too much of what we love about Idaho.

I bet this selling the

I bet this selling the public lands bit is something he didn't research. Does he even know anything about the west?

What makes Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon different?

They should they be federal hands but not the others?

Please don't break Rocky's heart?


Believe in yourself. At least you won't troll yourself in blogs.


It was awful nice of him to say how he felt about it BEFORE the election.
just another bureaucrat flying over wasted space.

What an idiot! The wealth

What an idiot! The wealth of public lands is what makes the West great. Hard to think of a worse idea than selling it off so it can all be bulldozed for quick profit.

One of the biggest benefits

of living in Idaho is the incredible access to public land we have out here. This idiot wants to take it away?

Hopefully Idahoans as a whole are lucky to realize how lucky we are in this regard. Anybody who isn't needs to travel some. People here are spoiled because they can hop in their car and go a short distance in any direction and have great outdoor access. That's a rare thing (seriously) and we need to protect it, not give it away.

Not that Santorum matters, anyway. He's just the latest anti-Romney and he should fade rather quickly once people learn a little more about him.

No Sir

This is a terrible idea on so many levels.

The state can't even afford to manage its schools.

The federal land doesn't need "managing" and his belief that the lands are there to serve man is a deal breaker for me.

We don't want Idaho to be Pennsylvania.

The federal agencies charged with caring for public lands here are underfunded because of Republican reluctance to spend money on such "frills".

Kiss your quality of life good-bye if Mr. Santorum gets anywhere close to the Oval Office.

Good idea.

Turn it over to State Lands.

IF Idahoans want public land and HIGHER taxes, the land can be maintained as IDAHO public land.

There is no need or benefit for the Federal Govt to own land beyond it's needs.

Santorum doesn't mean "turn it over to the state"

I might be able to support the idea if it really was to turn it over to the State of Idaho, but Santorum couldn't keep his lies straight.

Turning it over to the state would not make money, which he said he would do with the lands.

So the only thing he can mean is sale of our lands to private interests, who then could bull-doze, destroy and keep the bulk of the people out, and since Santorum believes in deregulating business, we would have nothing to say about it.

State Lands

What do you do then when a Governor such as Otter who doesn't believe in any public lands decides not to fund them? the only recourse would be to sell them off and they won't go to the average Joe. Would you like to see Ted Turner come in and buy hundreds of thousands of acres and ban all hunting from them? Ask people in Texas how much they enjoy having to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars for the chance to hunt. I think even you would feel a loss for the open spaces that make Idaho what it is.


So you are worried about a governor not believing in funding public lands....

And can you recite any impact that has caused in Idaho. Otter is the governor and has been for some time. Looks like he will be for another four. Has it reduced YOUR access to public land?

Of course not!

There are checks and balances.

"the only recourse" is NOT to sell em. How about user fees? How about utilizing the renewable resource called TIMBER and GRASS?

You ALREADY have users fees for federal lands. And YOU have indirect user fees- called TAXES.

And precious public lands already user fees (permits) and effective HIGH FEES called restricted # of user. I can't get on the Main Salmon in July- it might as well cost a MILLION dollars to do so, cuz I can't do it anyway due to limited #s.

Yellowstone area is considering a new USER fee - in the form of 1% sales tax.

Ted Turner can already come in buy all the land he wants. So what?
Hunter IN IDAHO now have to spend hundreds to get to good hunting lands. Why? Because the popular public lands are overrun with hunters and USERS reducing the quality hunts.

Cry me a river

So in essence it boils down to the fact you didn't get picked in the lottery for your Main Salmon permit.

did you see the other bill this session?

that would give private landowners the ability to sell tags for their land to the highest bidder? Ironic that it's happening the same time that there's a "right to hunt" constitutional'd have the "right to hunt" only if you had rich friends.

it is a goal

Nothing bad about rich friends.

What is Romney's position?

I probably would never have voted for Santorum anyway...but I might vote for Mitt if he took an opposing stand on this issue.

Show up Saturday for Ron

Show up Saturday for Ron Paul's rally and see where he stands on the public lands issue.

I don't think Mitt would have any idea about public lands, since he is also a east coast resident.

It doesn't matter, maybe snacks will be served tho.


Believe in yourself. At least you won't troll yourself in blogs.

Selling Federal Land

Well, Rick Santorum proved that he is an idiot yet again. I am a conservative but I am not going to support anyone who would condone selling off federal land to private interests. What I would suggest is that users of federal lands (grazing, etc.) pay market rates for its use versus the subsidized rates that they now pay. While were at it, repeal the anachronistic General Mining Law and make mine owners pay the state for the right to mine in Idaho.

Rick Santorum not only wants to regulate what happens in bedrooms in America, he wants to sell federal lands to the highest bidder. Come on Idahoans, are we going to support an uninformed Eastern Opus Dei Advocate for President of this country? I sure hope not!

To the highest bidder?

You think Santorum would sell to the highest bidder?

Surely, you jest.

This would be a barely hidden giveaway to his supporters.

Doesn't he understand American history at all???

So Santorum says: "We need to get it back into the hands of the states and even to the private sector." Doesn't he know that Idaho wasn't one of the original 13 states. How can you "put it back into the hands of the states" when it wasn't the state's to begin with. If we give it back to the original owners it would be the native Americans not the state Idaho. It was appropriated by the U.S. government who granted state and private ownership. There isn't a square foot of land in Idaho that belonged to Idaho "to begin with". I love how these people harken back to the founding fathers when they are so ignorant of history.

Go back in time and try again

This is a quote from someone else:
" Continental Congress adopted a general policy for administering any lands transferred to the federal government:
'The lands were to be “disposed of for the common benefit of the United States,”
were to be “settled and formed into distinct republican States, which shall
become members of the Federal Union, and shall have the same rights of
sovereignty, freedom and independence, as the other States....” The lands were
to “be granted and settled at such times and under such regulations as shall
hereafter be agreed on by the United States in Congress assembled.'”

Finish the story

Then Congress enacted laws creating forest reserves with the purpose to maintain favorable water flows and a continuous supply of timber, and they gave the President the power to identify the reserves. These laws were necessary due to the exploitation of the frontier and the mixed success of the disposal laws that granted lands to railroads, timber and stone act, Carey act etc.

We have a wonderful legacy in Idaho of public lands, and yes a love-hate relationship with the professional administrators who have to take marching orders from Washington DC and the political winds change some every two years. And yes, there are more than a few people who are resentful that society values have changed in the past 20 years so the decades of big timber harvest levels - roughly from 1945 to 1995 - dropped way down. Back down to the levels where the National Forests were managed from 1905 to 1945. But the lands are here to stay and the former Senator from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is not going to change that.

sick days

Maybe you missed this chapter-
Our forefathers thought it best as 'The lands were to be “disposed of for the common benefit of the United States,”

"Disposed of"

The state can either sell the timber (grass)(minerals) to make money or sell the land and put the proceeds in a pool to generate an endowment fund to generate spendable money- for a budget.

It's tough to dispute cash in the bank after a sale.

We (Idaho) already do this with our current inventory of state land. And we have disputes about the land use- Payette Lake Cabins.

You do understand the Continental Congress doesn't govern us...

Don't you?
Original intent?
Did they intend us to fly B-2's also?

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

Sale of the public's land

Great idea. Then their lordships can go back to hanging commoners for poaching for food. Santorum is the worst of the garbage brains in that contest.

Whee! I still get to vote for Obama!


Believe in yourself. At least you won't troll yourself in blogs.

or you can show up Tuesday,

or you can show up Tuesday, March 6th, and register / affiliate with the GOP for one night, and vote for Ron Paul if you REALLY want to see the national GOP blow their heads. Heh. The sputtering of the FoxNews / CNN / MSNBC anchors should be enough motivation.

Jason, you wild and crazy trouper!

I just got my rear tire replaced on the Schwinn!


Tom McCall was the daddy mack, bro.


Believe in yourself. At least you won't troll yourself in blogs.

Say Goodbye to hunting and fishing!

Public lands belong to us all. If they are sold most of us won't be hunting and fishing anymore. We simply won't be able to afford it. But don't worry, we'll have all those jobs cooking and cleaning for all the wealthy folks who will be able to pay the fee to hunt and fish. Bad idea Rick. Very bad idea.

Sounds like Lake Tahoe where

Sounds like Lake Tahoe where environmentalists bought the choice lots and built million dollar homes on them, then passed some of the toughest zoning laws and building codes that exist anywhere in the U.S. effectively preventing others from doing what they did. Scores of people who bought lots were told they were too environmentally sensitive to build on. Those who could still build often had to wait up to 20 years to get a building permit through a lottery system. Cut down a tree on your property and go to jail and pay a fine of up to $1000. They even dictate what color you can paint your home and what kind of wood can be used for decks. You can't turn over a teaspoon of soil between October 15 and May 15.

Surprisingly, the TRPA does tolerate a limited number of trailer parks and shabby weekly motels that house the Hispanic population who cook the meals and clean the homes of the ruling elite. There is no public housing, and sanitation rules are not enforced for their servant's neighborhoods.

You don't live in the same world we do, do you...

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

Who is "we" anyway ;-)


Believe in yourself. At least you won't troll yourself in blogs.


Well this clown just lost my vote, sure hope Mickey announces that he is going to run........

Upper Lochsa Land Exchange

The Idaho County Commissioners and USFS are in negotiations to swap clear-cut land in the upper Lochsa area for prime 45,000 acres around Grangeville and Riggins to Tim Blixeth, a.k.a. WPT, Western Pacific Timber. If you hunt Unit 18 around Riggins, you better get on Crapo/Risch/Simpson to stop the trade. This is just the beginning of the land give away that Santorum wants to get into. The Chinese are also interested in exchanging part of the trade deficit for the prime Idaho forests for timber and mining. They are already negotiating for prime land around Idaho City so they can mine some rare earth minerals. And in the mean time, our people sleep and won't make a move to change the keepers of our land: Risch/Crapo/Simpson/Otter/Brandt/Rockwell/Chmelik/and many others.Our way of life is on the cutting block.Jefferson said:"Every generation must have it's own revolution." Now is the time.


public lands= good (okay_
federal lands= bad

No mushroom cloud above ANY LAND=YEEEEE HAW!


Believe in yourself. At least you won't troll yourself in blogs.