House joint resolution 44 might be the answer to the lack of management and oversight on our public lands.
Recently, on March 27th, 2017 President Trump signed House Joint Resolution 44 into law. It effectively canceled a Bureau of Land Management regulation which was part of a drastic overreach to put control of public lands fully within the federal government. It’s another step to force the federal government to work hand-in-hand with local governments for the future of our public lands.
The Bureau of Land Management rule which was titled “Resource Management 2.0” removed the state’s ability to make decisions on
environmental concerns. It’s a lengthy article and is entirely misrepresented. In the end, contracts between local governments and federal agencies have been canceled.
The Bureau of Land Management Resource Management 2.0 summary statement is as follows:
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is amending its regulations that establish the procedures used to prepare, revise, or amend land use plans pursuant to the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). The final rule affirms the important role of other Federal agencies, State and local governments, Indian tribes, and the public during the planning process and enhances opportunities for public involvement and transparency during the preparation of resource management plans. The final rule will enable the BLM to more readily address resource issues at a variety of scales, such as wildfire, wildlife habitat, appropriate development, or the demand for renewable and non-renewable energy sources, and to respond more effectively to change. The final rule emphasizes the role of using high-quality information, including the best available scientific information, in the planning process; and the importance of evaluating the resource, environmental, ecological, social, and economic conditions at the onset of planning. Finally, the final rule makes revisions to clarify the existing text and to improve the readability of the planning regulations.
Read the complete Bureau of Land Management Resource Management Plan 2.0 HERE
Federal officials are enforcing State and County laws without oversight or approval from the people.
When the people elect a sheriff they are relying on the sheriff to uphold the rule of law. The people vote for laws on the local level based on their needs. The sheriff is the supreme law enforcement authority over any said County. If people don’t like the sheriff and the law enforcement policy, they can elect him out of office. The Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution gives the sheriff supreme authority over all law enforcement activities regarding the said County. The sheriff is allowed to contract with the federal government and deputize federal agents to enforce County and state laws. The federal government is supposed to answer to the sheriff. All executive decision-making lies on the sheriff. This effectively puts the power of the government in the hands of the people.
This is not the case with the Bureau of Land Management. In fact, what they are doing is illegal. The very law that governs the Bureau of Land Management policy is being violated. Federal Land Management agencies do not enact laws that are approved by the people. Their power is derived from executive decisions with oversight only from the federal government. This leaves a lot of room for interpretation. The Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution makes it illegal for the federal government to enforce state or County laws on the people.
Arizona’s claims of rights-of-way under revised statute 2477
RS 2477 is part of the old mining Grant of 1866. Revised Statute 2477 was repealed by the Federal Land Management and Policy Act in 1976. However, the right to claim rights-of-way under RS2477 remained and the people, cities, towns, counties, and states are still allowed to claim RS2477 roads as long as they predate 1976. The Federal Land Policy Management Act states that any road that predates 1976 must remain open.
(Sec. 701. 43 U.S.C. 1701) reads “Nothing in this Act, or in any amendment made by this Act, shall be construed as terminating any valid lease, permit, patent, right-of-way, or other land use right or authorization existing on the date of approval of this Act”
Read the Federal Land Management and Policy Act HERE
In April of 2015 Arizona House, Bill 2175 passed and was signed into law as ARS 37-931. This bill is Arizona’s claim of Rights of way under RS2477. Under ARS 37-931, the federal government (BLM, USFS) cannot close rights-of-way over federal land in Arizona. Arizona law clearly states that a court order of competent jurisdiction can close a road that falls under an RS2477 claim. The law further states that the public has a right to use an RS2477 right of way. The law describes the condition of the right away, whether maintained or unmaintained and does not prohibit a right of way from falling under the RS2477 claim.
Read ARS 37-931 from the Arizona legislatorwebsiteHERE
So what should the Arizona people do?
Now that President Trump has disapproved of the Bureau of Land Management’s rule on resource management it’s time for the people to call our elected officials and demand they enforce the law under Arizona’s revised statute 37-931. Call your local sheriff. Call the Arizona attorney general. Call the sponsors of House Bill 2175. Call the co-sponsors of house joint resolution 44. Imagine the outcome! We could finally get our public lands cleaned up! We will finally have law enforcement protecting our public lands. The people and the local governments will finally have a say.
Below you will find a list of the appropriate Arizona elected officials to call. Remember, these guys are on YOUR side. Please be respectful of your demands. They are in the highest position of power to fix the problems with our public lands. If we put pressure on them, they will be forced to work in our favor.
Co-sponsors of House Joint Resolution 44
Representative Andy Biggs
1626 Longworth House Office Building
Representative Paul Gosar
2057 Rayburn House Office Building
Sponsors of House Bill 2175
Rep Mark Finchem District 11 (602) 926-3122
Rep Bob Thorpe District 6 (602) 926-5219
Rep Brenda Barton District 6 (602) 926-4129
Senator Sonny Borelli District 5 (602) 926-5051
Rep Regina Cobb District 5 (602) 926-3126
Rep Vince Leach District 11 (602) 926-3106
Senator Steve Smith District 11 (602) 926-5685
Arizona Office of the Attorney General
2005 N Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85004-2926
Fax (602) 542-4085
400 West Congress
South Building, Suite 315
Tucson, AZ 85701-1367
Fax (520) 628-6530
1000 Ainsworth Dr.
Prescott, AZ 86305-1610
Fax: (928) 778-1298
Kevin is an American outdoorsman born and raised in rural Arizona who grew up exploring the Arizona backcountry with his father. Today, he and his son travel to the most remote regions of Arizona, scavenging for the remains of early western pioneers. As a lifelong outdoorsman, Kevin has learned to stick close to his roots while engaging in important advocacy work regarding motorized access to public lands. You can find his work in many local and nationwide publications, including The Western Journal, 4Low Magazine, and his website AZBackroads.com.
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