Knowledge and Courage

Knowledge and Courage

Many ask about my passion for the Transfer of Public Lands Act that I passed in 2012 (HB148). Here is an article that was published where I expressed in detail the principles of freedom that make the Transfer of Public Lands to all willing western states more than just a good's critical to our Republic. - Ken Ivory


Knowledge and Courage – Keys to the Transfer of Public Lands - Why The Difference?


The federal government continues to control more than 50% of all lands in the western United States.  Locked up in these federally controlled lands are more than $150 trillion in mineral values and more recoverable oil - in UT, CO, and WY alone - than the rest of the world combined.  Failed federal forest policies prevent harvesting timber, which would improve forest conditions and wildfire resilience; provide useful consumer products and renewable energy feedstock; and revitalize rural schools and communities.  FBI criminal activity alerts now warn that terrorists are encouraging the use of wildfire in fuel-laden federal forests as weapons for jihad.


There is no good reason for the federal government to retain control over these lands and resources!  We in the West have, in good faith, simply tolerated federal delay in honoring its more than 200-year-old obligation to transfer title to these lands for so long that now most people assume there must be some valid reason the federal government controls our lands and resources.


There is no good reason for federal control over our lands and resources!  At a recent Continuing Legal Education seminar to several dozen lawyers, the law professor, frequently quoted as saying it is "clearly unconstitutional" for states to take action to secure the transfer of title to their public lands, displayed an annual average precipitation map indicating that the federal government retains control of western lands because they are arid.  


The second reason he gave was that the founders of the western states simply gave up their lands as a sort of ransom for the privilege of statehood citing half a sentence in the statehood enabling acts "… forever disclaim all right and title…"  The funny thing is, this same half a sentence is word for word the same in the statehood enabling acts of most all states east of Colorado where the federal government did dispose of their public lands.


In fact, for decades, as much as 90% of the lands IL, MO, AR, IN, LA, AL, MS, and FL were kept under federal control.  One man with Knowledge and Courage rallied the people generally and together they compelled Congress to transfer title to their public lands. His name was Thomas Hart Benton, a democratic U.S. Senator from Missouri featured in President John F. Kennedy's best-selling book Profiles in Courage.


The statehood enabling act promises to transfer title to the public lands are the same for all states west and east of Colorado.  It's been done before - repeatedly and recently!  And, it's the only solution big enough to (1) fund education, (2) better care for our lands and forests, (3) protect access, (4) create jobs, and (5) grow local, state, and national economies and tax base.


If we fail to stand up and take action to secure state and local control of our lands and abundant resources, it will not be because it is illegal, unconstitutional, or impossible.  It will only be because we - and the local, state, and national leaders we "hire" - lack the Knowledge and the Courage to do what has already been done before - repeatedly!


Do your local, state, and national leaders and representatives know why the difference in federal control over Western lands?  Have you inquired what specifically they are doing to compel Congress to honor the same statehood promise for our children and our future that Congress already kept with Hawaii and all states east of Colorado?  Have you asked them what groups or influential individuals they will bring to the effort?  Have you asked them what specifically you can do to help?


In a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” if now is not the time to “hire” representatives who clearly know why the difference, will tomorrow be too late?

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