chapter  2
26 Pages

Fighting over Public Lands: Interest Groups, States, and the Federal Government

BySandra K. Davis

This chapter discusses the issues that divide state and federal officials and the historical context of public lands decision-making. The states have a number of grievances concerning the question of public lands ownership. Contrary to the threats posed by some pre-emption cases, the states have greatly benefited from receipt-sharing programs funded by the federal government. The states are important participants in public lands policy in ways that transcend direct federal-state conflict. They are involved as managers of their own resources, as recipients of federal revenues, as landowners affected by federal wilderness and other environmental regulations, and as political organizations that pursue greater control of federal lands. New organizations advanced the cause of the sagebrush rebels. Public lands disputes have periodically been a source of contention since the founding of the United States. Just as public lands decision-making has become more complex with the entry of a greater variety of public and private actors, the interactions between participants have expanded.