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Cato Handbook for Policymakers (8th Edition): Interior Department and Public Lands

February 16, 2017
By Randal O'Toole

A List Of Major Policy Recommendations For Congressional Staff

Recommends Congress should privatize the lands held by the Forest Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior, or, failing that; reform the public land agencies by turning individual forests, parks, refuges, and Bureau of Land Management districts, or combinations of those units, into fiduciary trusts; allow those trusts to charge a broad range of user fees at market rates; • fund the trusts exclusively out of a share of those user fees; dedicate some or all of the remaining user fees to special stewardship trusts whose goal is to maximize the nonmarket, stewardship values of the land; transfer fire suppression programs to the states by having public land agencies join state fire protection districts; and reform the Endangered Species Act to compensate private landowners for protecting wildlife habitat and to allow privatization of some wildlife to promote recovery efforts.