A question from Stephen Crowley of South Burlington, VT:
The EPA has the task of protecting people, and the environment, from environmental degradation. Far too often it is hamstrung by special interests in accomplishing its goals. We often hear complaints from some people, particularly in Western states, that federal ownership is somehow onerous. This seems disingenuous to me, and seems to overlook what are in fact vast subsidies in the form of low or no fee use of land for everything from mining to forestry to recreation. Where would theses western states be without the enormous subsidies on the part of the people of the eastern states, starting with the earliest encroachments on this land by our ancestors?
Rep. Gibbons responds:
The Western States are "hamstrug" by the federal government because of their large land holdings. It is a constant fight for many local communities to get the federal government to release land, even if it is just to expand a school. One particular county in my district has experienced lengthy problems in obtaining Bureau of Land Management land to build a hospital, just a hospital to protect and promote community health and safety. This is land that should belong to the states and the land-use decisions should be made by the state and local communities.
The special interests that you refer to are the ones that dictate and influence policy in Washington, D.C., that mandates land use decisions in Nevada. We do not want or expect any type of subsidy, we want to use the land in our state in a proper economic and environmental manner.
Rep. Carson responds:
Certainly, I am not one to advocate a sort of "regional warfare" situation pitting eastern states versus
western states. However, I do agree that the concept of federal ownership of land is not a bad one.
In fact, federal stewardship of land is critical. We must preserve our national parks to enjoy the
natural beauty they hold. If federal stewardship of land helps in real protection of the environment, I
am all for it.
[Editor's Note: Rep. Carson also responded to Mary Fran Crowley of Indianapolis, IN who wrote:]
Thanks for addressing the EPA problem as far as time constraints go. They are much too slow and I certainly hope you get the support you need and deserve.
Rep. Carson responds:
Thank you so much for your kind words of support. My hope is that we can get people like yourself
to endorse my proposed legislation not only in Indiana, but around the country. Currently, I am hard
at work attempting to gain co-sponsors for the legislation and endorsements from national groups
who are as concerned about this issue as I am. I firmly believe that this legislation can be enacted if
we remain vigilant and bring it to the forefront of national focus.