Congress

House Republicans Introduce Bill to Strip the Forest Service of Its Authority

Jason Chaffetz
JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

If the Utah delegation has their way, the next wannabe Bundy clan will have one less thing to worry about.

Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz and his colleagues from Utah have introduced legislation to strip federal agencies of their authority to police federal land.

It would strip officials in the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of their authority to enforce laws regulating federal land. Rather, local and state authorities would be provided with a block grant to enforce the laws instead.

Speaking to Deseret News earlier this month, Chaffetz accused those federal officials of being “more Rambo and less Andy Griffith than I would like.”

As I'm sure you recall, it was the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that found itself on the other side of dozens of Bundy militiamen in Nevada. The BLM agents were merely there to enforce laws routinely broken by Cliven Bundy.

Likewise, the Bundy occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon was prompted by the prosecution and conviction of ranchers who faced charges for setting federal land on fire.

If federal agents really were "more Rambo and less Andy Griffith" as Congressman Chaffetz alleges, they would gunned down the Bundy clan in both instances and they would have been justified in doing so. Instead, federal authorities gave the Bundy clan a rope to hang themselves with and now nearly three dozen of them have been indicted on federal charges.

Local authorities are not equipped to handle these situations and, as we've seen in some cases, they may not necessarily be interested in enforcing the law. Grant County, Oregon Sheriff Glenn Palmer is under investigation by state authorities for his close association and cooperation with the Bundy squatters.

  • Badgerite

    The GOP never met a bad policy choice they did not love.

  • ninjaf

    Local authorities are not equipped to handle these situations and, as we’ve seen in some cases, they may not necessarily be interested in enforcing the law.

    Feature, not a bug, in their view. Plus, they could re-purpose the money to close some of the gaping holes in their state budgets.

  • Aynwrong

    I’m not sure if I should stand in admiration of or judgement for the press that continuously fails to laugh right in the face of the court jesters that spout this nonsense.

    I guess I’ll go with both. Good grief.

  • muselet

    When asked about these concerns by TPM, Chaffetz’s office pointed to provisions in the bill that would require the state or local governments to submit annual reports to the Department of Interior. The bill also says the local authorities would need to “enter into an agreement” with the Interior Department.

    “[T]his bill gives BLM and Forest Service the opportunity to stay focused on their core mission without the distraction of police functions,” M.J. Henshaw, Chaffetz’s press secretary, said in an email to TPM.

    I have seen more disingenuous statements before, but not often.

    –alopecia

  • Victor the Crab

    Of course if the federal agents were more like Rambo and started gunning down the Bundy militiamen, then assholes like Chaffetz would be screaming their heads off and flinging their poo furiously at the government, accusing them of violently taking away these “patriots” right to protest. Whatever the outcome, it’s all Obama’s fault in their pea sized brains.

  • Georgie
    • Aynwrong

      Yup.

    • Draxiar

      Oh man…that is probably my favorite gif…

    • ninjaf

      Yep, pretty much.