What's your rebellion worth?

Posted: Mar 26, 2013

Written by

Casper Star-Tribune

How much is a rebellion worth? In the case of a prospective second Sagebrush Rebellion, we say it’s not worth very much.

It’s certainly not worth $30,000, the total amount of public funds allocated by Wyoming lawmakers to study an old and beaten idea: The transfer of federal lands to state control.

For a Legislature which often juggles budget dollar amounts in the millions and billions, $30,000 may not seem like a lot of money.

But how much should be spent on a bad idea?

The lawmakers’ Task Force on Transfer of Public Lands, led by Sen. Eli Bebout and Rep. David Miller, both Republicans from Riverton, revives a decades-old fight in Wyoming and the West.

The Sagebrush Rebellion that peaked in the 1970s and 1980s rekindled a longtime goal of Western states: Wresting control of federal lands and putting them under state control.

It’s not a revolutionary concept. There is little federal land in the East simply because the federal government largely granted away its land to the states in which it was found. That didn’t happen in the West, where state and private land remain islands in a federal sea.

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