, , , ,

At least since the Louisiana Purchase, private interests have made a killing off public lands. Whether converting such lands to private use, extracting resources from them, or gaining exclusive concessions regarding them, public lands can be a goldmine for those who exploit them. One case in Oregon, regarding a literal gold mine, has become a flash point. The Oregonian reports on the latest chapter of this increasingly bizarre dispute between the Sugar Pine Mine’s operators and the Bureau of Land Management: http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2015/04/blm_closes_office_as_armed_pro.html#incart_river

The Smithsonian has a photo-documentary about remnants of private facilities that can be found in some of our national parks. It is a reminder of how, when it comes to human incursions into an environment, the past is rarely truly erased: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/abandoned-settlements-hidden-inside-national-parks-180955064/?no-ist

Which brings us to efforts apparently under way in Congress to privatize some public lands. It is troubling to think that what has been entrusted to government stewardship might, with the stroke of a pen, be converted to private gain. The environmentally-conscious group, CREDO, has the story and is asking for your support in blocking such actions: http://act.credoaction.com/sign/Public_Land_Sale

Finally, here in Oregon controversy surrounds a bill in the legislature which is intended to facilitate the sale of a 788-acre portion of the Elliott State Forest by the Department of State Lands. The proposed sale is the subject of a lawsuit aimed at blocking the transaction. The Oregonian discusses that bill, and another which was intended to protect area, but has died: http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2015/04/bill_to_end_elliott_state_fore.html#incart_river