Ensure multiple uses of federal lands, from environmentally compatible economic activities to recreation and conservation.
Summary of the Issue
Federal natural resource policies that guide the management of public lands have substantial impacts on local and regional economies, particularly in the western United States. Efforts to limit uses of federal lands and forests have adversely restricted the effective maintenance and use of public lands and the economies of communities in these areas.
Moreover, at a time when the nation needs to increase domestic energy production, vast stretches of public lands and offshore holdings with important energy, mineral, and timber resources are unavailable. As part of a strong national energy policy, all opportunities to harness the energy potential of the Outer Continental Shelf should be explored and energy resources on public lands should be developed to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign sources of petroleum and natural gas.
These policies have distressed communities in areas with large tracts of public lands. For example, since the early 1900s, receipts from timber harvested on federal lands have funded school districts in forested communities. Consequently, efforts to restrict timber activities have greatly reduced education funding for many rural schools.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly advocates for the multiple use of federal lands, from environmentally compatible economic activities to recreation and conservation. This includes encouragement of strategies designed to achieve appropriate long-term forest and public land management policies. The Chamber supports the full implementation of current forest plans and efforts to continue the timber sales program of the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, and opposes efforts to eliminate road construction in sections of national forests and restrict cattle grazing on public lands.
U.S. Chamber Strategy
- Ensure that public lands are managed for multiple uses, including recreation and mineral resources, and the maximum public benefit.
- Advocate that, as part of a strong national energy policy, energy resources on both public lands and in offshore holdings be developed to reduce the United States' reliance on foreign sources of petroleum and natural gas.
Environment, Technology & Regulatory Affairs Division