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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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(Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune) Idaho's Speaker of the House, Scott Bedke, speaks as he and other western lawmakers describe their effort to transfer federal lands to the states, Friday, April 18, 2014. From left to right: Utah Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, Montana Speaker of the House Mark Blasdel, Montana Sen. Jennifer Fielder, Bedke, and Utah Speaker of the House, Becky Lockhart, R-Provo.
Pundit Roundup: Westerners are revolting ...

Western politicians conspire to lead us astray — Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

"A pair of related questions for which there is no good answer:

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"Do the elected officials in some Western states who continue to claim that a state takeover of millions of acres of federally owned land is both wise and possible believe what they are saying?

"Or are they deliberately tantalizing voters with a promise they know will never be fulfilled, gaining political mileage by pretending to stand up to Big, Bad Washington in a futile — and, for those politicians, risk-free — gesture of defiance? ..."

[Western lawmakers gather in Utah to talk federal land takeover — Salt Lake Tribune]

Plan for federal lands — St. George Spectrum Editorial

" ... Yes, states will bring in money based on development, mineral taxes and other revenue streams. But that income may pale in comparison to the expense that would come with a single wildfire — an all-too-often occurrence in the American West. If the states want to manage the land, they first should have to come up with a plan for dealing with the management issues that often arise, with fires being only one part of that equation. ..."

Don’t treat land takeover lightly — Prescott (Ariz.) Daily Courier Editorial

" ... We like living in the West for the open spaces we enjoy, but a question central to the issue of taking over control of those spaces is, do not our fellow citizens in the other 49 states have rights to those lands too? ..."

— Cliven — David Fitzsimmons | Arizona Daily Star

"If Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy was an armed inner city black man who refused to pay his rent for years, surrounded himself with a gang of armed extremists who threatened lawmen, and claimed his landlord’s property claim was "illegitimate" he would have be branded a "pinhead" and a "parasite" and held up to endless ridicule. But in the world of conservative media...."

Nevada’s cattle and the federal government — Pamela Openshaw | Provo Daily Herald

" ... Western states need not be Cinderella step-sisters; they have the rights to their territories, just as do eastern states. Bundy deserves the support of his governor, county sheriff, and Utah, as well."

BLM’s cattle battle ends — for now — Las Vegas Review-Journal Editorial

" ... The problem isn’t cattle grazing fees nor saving the tortoise. It’s that the federal government owns too much land — more than 80 percent of Nevada — and is completely incapable of managing it. The BLM would be wise to follow its Saturday tactic and withdraw from more federal land — by selling it to local owners, who would be far better caretakers."

Bundy is no victor — Las Vegas Sun Editorial

" ... It is deeply troubling that people, particularly some politicians, fail to see the seriousness of this and have tried to paint Bundy as a heroic figure. What they are saying is you can pick and choose which laws and court orders to follow, and with enough force, you can get away with it. ..."

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