Listen to the hysteria coming from environmental groups and some politicians over President Trump's order on Monday to shrink two national monuments in Utah and you get the idea that all of the nation's federally owned lands will soon become toxic waste dumps, parking lots and battery factories for Tesla.
Because of Trump, the lumbering buffalo and the nimble deer and antelope will no longer have places to roam. My god, Trump will even sell the land to the Russians so they can plop down tractor factories, and people who shop at REI will no longer be able to brag to their friends about what great hiking places they've found.
The rhetoric is beyond hysterical, with many calling Trump's action an unprecedented assault on public lands. You get the idea from them that there will be no open land left in the United States because Trump will pave all of it over!
So here's my message. Stop the deceitful, over-the-top, politically-motivated rhetoric because the federal government is in no danger of running out of land, or we of open space.
And guess what? Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's report said today said there should be no boundary changes made to the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks or Rio Grande del Norte National Monuments in New Mexico.
Here's a fact straight from the Congressional Research Service: the federal government owns 28 percent of all land in the nation. It means that the feds own 640 million acres of the 2.27 billion acres of land.
In Utah, where Trump just scaled back the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, the feds own 63.1 percent of the land.
And here in New Mexico the feds own 35.4 percent of the land. Now throw in all the land that states own, especially western sates, and you can see that we're in no danger of being paved over.
Cut through the hysteria surrounding the two monuments in Utah and you learn that the feds still own the land that has been cut from the monuments. Here's what The Hill, an online publication said:
“Trump eliminated about 84 percent of Bears Ears and nearly half of Grand Staircase-Escalante, but that doesn’t mean the land will be sold to private owners.
“The parts of the monuments that are no longer protected are still owned by the federal government, mostly the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management.
“That means any proposals by private companies to develop the land, mine on it, drill for oil or natural gas or other major activities, will have to go undergo environmental and other reviews.”
What it means is that regular people will have much more access to that land than they did when it was a national monument. That, of course, infuriates environmentalists because they think all federal land should be their personal playgrounds.
Most of the land the feds owns is in the western states. So here's a breakdown of how much land the feds own out this way:
State Acres owned by feds Total acres in state Percent owned by feds
Alaska 223,803,098 365,481,600 61.2%
Arizona 28,064,307 72,688,000 38.6%
California 45,864,800 100,206,720 35.9%
Colorado 23,870,652 66,485,760 45.8%
Hawaii 820,725 4,105,600 20%
Idaho 32,621,631 52,933,120 61.6%
Montana 27,003,251 93,271,040 29%
Nevada 59,681,502 70,264,320 84.9%
New Mexico 26,981,490 77,766,400 34.7%
Oregon 32,614,185 61,598,720 52.9
Utah 34,202,920 52,698,960 64.9%
Washington 12,176,293 42,693,760 28.5%
Wyoming 30,013,219 62,343,040 48.1%
U.S. total 623,313,931 2.3 billion 27.4%