Idaho Representative Raul Labrador voted to continue using tax dollars to explore ways to transfer public lands straight to private ownership, contradicting own claims.
WASHINGTON D.C. – On September 13, 2017 Idaho Representative Raul Labrador voted on a bill amendment that gave us a glimpse of truth regarding his views on public lands. Considering he has told Idahoans that he does not want to see public lands sold off, it was a move that left those who value public lands and wise use of tax dollars feeling deceived, even among his own supporters. In four short steps we will walk you through the content and context of the vote.
For some time the Representative has boasted that he believes our national public lands should be transferred to state ownership. This worries many people because states are constitutionally obligated to maximize profits from such lands, which results in singular management directives and often their sale (Idaho has sold 41% in just over 100 years). Though the state of Idaho has violated its own constitution over 300 times selling lands illegally, fears of a public lands transfer are further bolstered by several economic studies illustrating that states would need to increase land sales to pay for newly incurred management costs like fire fighting, noxious weeds management, watershed health, and so on. In fact, a nonpartisan study found the state of Idaho would lose money in eight of nine scenarios if public lands were transferred. So, rightfully Idaho sportsmen and other public lands users have relentlessly expressed opposition of the transfer, sale, or privatization of our public lands.
Regardless, Representative Labrador defends his platform mentioning he doesn’t want our public lands sold to private ownership, though he has offered no solution to prevent such sales if public lands were transferred. Here is a video of the Representative telling our executive director that he has been wrongfully accused of wanting to sell public lands into private ownership. And here is an article where the Representative states, “a group of people are saying we want to sell off our federal lands and there is no truth to that at all.”
This September, Amendment 371 was introduced on the House floor. The Amendment would have prohibited the use of public funds to pursue ways to transfer federal lands to private owners. Voting for Amendment 371 would be the perfect way for Rep. Labrador to verify his claims that “a group of people are saying we want to sell off our federal lands and there is no truth to that at all.” He voted against it, directly contradicting his own claims. That’s right- Rep. Labrador voted down the amendment, approving the use of public funds to find ways to sell public lands to private owners.
If you feel misled, or deceived, that is understandable. The threat of losing hunt-able and fish-able acreage does not sit well with Idahoans. What’s worse is being told by a politician that the threat doesn’t exist, while he actively votes to make the threat a reality.
Some people call this – this saying one thing and doing another – lying. Us sportsmen might embellish a fish story or two, but we don’t like outright lying. Honesty is the mark of good character, a good lesson to learn for folks who represent us.
Representative Mike Simpson voted in favor of Amendment 371.