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Shellard: Legislators should slow down on lands amendment

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Editor:

To the 2017 Wyoming Legislature: I attended the Select Federal Natural Resource Management Sub-Committee meeting on Dec. 14, 2016, in Cheyenne. I appreciated being able to offer my thoughts on the proposed constitutional amendment.

This proposed amendment would allow the state to receive federal lands if a transfer was authorized by the U.S. Congress. Even so, I noticed a strong resistance by the sub-committee (Sen. Hicks and Rep. Stubson), to slow this proposal down and continue discussions into future sessions. That makes me question the amount of thought, or lack thereof, that has been put into something as important as a constitutional amendment. Changing a document that has served our state and our lifestyles, for over 120 years, requires more than a few months of discussion. Especially since the proposed amendment is addressing an issue that does not currently exist. The United States has not offered to transfer federal lands to any state.

I am asking that you consider stopping any further movement of this proposed bill. The fact that we now have a new president-elect, and a new secretary of the Department of the Interior, leads me to believe that this constitutional amendment is “chasing the train."

The problems we have faced in this state regarding public land management are about to change whether we like it or not. Not knowing how the new administration is going to manage public lands is a good reason to slow this effort down. I know that we as Wyomingites care dearly about our land and our economy, but a bill of this magnitude, written just one month before going in front of a voting body, is something I cannot support. It won't matter what changes in the bill's language are put in place; it is moving much too fast to allow for thoughtful solutions. Especially cost-related issues when managing public lands for “multiple use.”

I am asking that you vote no on the approval of any form of a constitutional amendment allowing the transfer of public lands from federal to state management. Thank you for serving Wyoming! 

ROBERT SHELLARD, Mills

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