Land Cap Bill Up Again In HouseMay 4th, 2012
A bill that would cap the amount of public land under the administration of the Department of Natural Resources was up again for discussion in the House Committee on Natural Resources, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation on Tuesday, May 1, 2012.
MUCC has reported continually on this bill since last spring and has worked to amend the original form of the bill that favored a simple acreage cap on the amount of public land allowed.
The bill was amended in a positive way so that a cap would be placed on public land purchases state-wide while the department created a plan for its future buying and selling strategy. The cap would then be removed once the plan took effect. This is something that MUCC and stakeholders were able to agree with.
The major sticking point is how that plan goes into effect and the cap comes off. Currently, the bill is set up to only allow the plan to work and the cap to lift once the House and the Senate both pass resolutions.
Anyone who follows government even a little bit knows what a mess passing bills and resolutions can be, for a number of reasons. Many times, these reasons are not the kind of things we want effecting our natural resources management in the state. That was the point of Proposal G in 1996 with wildlife management, and the same could be said of our land resources.
That is why MUCC and a coalition of sportsmen and conservation organizations from around the state have been advocating for the removal of the cap and the immediate effect of the plan once the plan is completed.
A significant amount of time and resources will go into putting a strategic plan together, and it will involve time and resources of not only the DNR, but the public, conservation organizations, local governments, and the legislature. It does not make sense to subject it to politics once completed. In addition, the legislature always has the ability to change and amend laws as it sees fit.
There is still time for your voice to be heard on this issue.