Federal Lands

Over 90 percent of all federally controlled land is located in the West, with roughly one out of every two acres managed by D.C. bureaucrats nearly 2,000 miles away. We are told this is to preserve the environment, benefit local economies, and protect public recreation. Instead, federal mismanagement provides us with polluted air, dying forests, decimated wildlife, depressed economies, underfunded public education, and lost recreational opportunities.

Our public lands, our wildlife, our communities, and our families deserve better. The Coalition for Self-Government in the West believes that local control and management of our public lands will provide this. Who better to care for the land and promote its beneficial uses than Westerners who live on and love it?

Quick Links

Why is it so important to demand control over our own lands? How can it be done? Can it be done? It’s all in this handy presentation.

Want to know the value of energy resources on federal lands in the Rocky Mountain West? It’s all here.

Is it legal for states to demand the federal government return some of their lands? See the opinion here.

Finally, we’ve distilled the economic value of energy resources on federal lands in several states down to short policy notes: Here’s Wyoming, Montana, and Utah.


Putting the Bears Ears in harm’s way

Supporters of the proposed Bears Ears National Monument paint a vivid picture of ATVs running over ancient pottery, tourists etching initials into petroglyphs, and archaeologists digging up Native American burial grounds. While there is no denying the sad reality of such activities in the past, San Juan County Navajos feel that public education campaigns and […]

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Will Bears Ears promises be kept? Look at history

Editor’s Note: This op-ed originally appeared May 22, 2016, in Deseret News. Supporters of a Bears Ears national monument often say the Native Americans who have the strongest connections to the land support the monument. They point to an Inter-Tribal Coalition letter to the president to justify this claim. The reality is that the Native […]


6 myths about the proposed Bears Ears National Monument

Misconceptions and rumors are circulating around the proposed designation of a Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. Proponents of the monument have hurled unsubstantiated promises and propaganda at the people of Utah in an attempt to push through their agenda. The Coalition for Self-Government in the West and Sutherland Institute examine here six such claims […]


Take care of existing national parks before acquiring more land

This August the National Park Service will celebrate its 100-year anniversary. Americans visiting our parks this year have been greeted with birthday cake, free admission, ribbon-cutting ceremonies, and commemorative coins. While these celebrations are good-natured, they overlook a serious and growing problem. A recent report by the Property and Environmental Research Center shows that the […]


Defusing the situation

Tensions are high across the Western United States. Decades of federal land mismanagement have produced a powder keg of hostility set to explode and tear apart our rural communities. We have seen glimpses of this in the 2014 Bundy standoff and the recent armed occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge (headquarters seen in accompanying photo). […]


Jumping into action – the wrong way

On Tuesday, federal officials declared 14,000 acres across Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado as critical habitat for the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse. Despite feedback from ranchers opposed to the designation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service moved forward with its plan to set aside roughly 190 linear miles of river. The small rodent depends […]


A breath of fresh air for Utah lands

Our public lands have taken a number of punches over the last six months or so. We’ve seen an armed occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, the Obama administration freezing new coal leases on federal lands, and the EPA triggering an environmental disaster that turned the Animus River orange from toxic heavy metals. […]

Testimony in support of HCR 17 (Concurrent Resolution Opposing Unilateral Use of the Antiquities Act)

Testimony presented by Matt Anderson, policy analyst for the Coalition for Self-Government in the West (a project of the Sutherland Institute), on March 7, 2016, before the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee of the Utah Legislature in support of HCR 17: Public lands are an asset – an integral part of our cultural […]

American Lands Council Rebuttal to U. of U. TPLA Legal Analysis

  A step by step rebuttal of the U. of U. “analysis,” complete with Lawyer-ese and everything. ALC Legal Rebuttal  

Montana Environmental Quality Council Federal Lands Management Study Matrix

Montana’s SJ15 set up a study to look at federal lands management policies in the state and the committee did a tremendous job collecting data and identifying challenges and opportunities. We’ll post the draft report soon, but in the meantime a couple of pieces are already available. The first is a study matrix and related […]