Dear Senator Inhofe and Representative Black:
On behalf of more than two million Americans for Prosperity activists in all 50 states, I am writing in support of the Federal Land Freedom Act of 2013, which would allow governors to petition the federal government to control and lease certain federal land in order to develop energy and natural resources. Trillions of dollars in natural resources exist in public lands throughout the United States, but federal government policies prohibit their use.
Your bill will strengthen state economies and boost the supply of domestic affordable energy. When states do not have the authority to develop their own land, they lose out on economic activity, job creation, and tax revenue. This puts a strain on state budgets, and it makes it difficult to recover from periods of slow economic growth.
Your bill highlights the problem of states not having the authority over the permitting, environmental regulations, and land management on federal lands that exist within their state borders. Ours is a nation of great geographic diversity, so a policy that works for one state often doesn’t work for another. Governors know better than Washington bureaucrats what policies will work best for their state. They have a stronger incentive to enact responsible land management policies, as they can directly see the consequences of the policies they enact.
States already demonstrate success in balancing natural resource extraction and environmental preservation on their own state and private lands. Consider North Dakota as a prime example, which has weathered the sluggish economy better than other states because it has been able to develop much of its energy and natural resources. North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate and fastest growing state economy in the nation, thanks in large part to hydraulic fracturing on state and private lands.
Shifting control of energy and natural resources development on federal lands to the individual states is good policy. Americans for Prosperity is proud to support Federal Land Freedom Act. I urge your colleagues to support its passage, and I look forward to working with you in the future.
Director of Policy
Americans for Prosperity