States like Utah are looking for nothing more than certainty and equality under the law. Yet Congress treats these not as rights to be protected, but vulnerabilities to be exploited.
Thus, support for the farm bill is a vote to keep Utahns and the citizens of most western states permanently dependent on the whims of faraway politicians.
I cannot be a part of it. And I have encouraged my colleagues to recognize that there is another way, a better way, a new approach that remembers what, and who, we’re supposed to really stand for.
Congress could do the right thing and return the land to the states, or it could compromise and fully compensate western communities for the growth and opportunity Washington denies them.
But the farm bill Congress just passed does neither. And we’re all going to pay for it.
This should be an opportunity to bring our people together, not turn our regions against each other, and turn the right to local government into a political football.
It’s time to have a serious debate about a permanent solution to federally owned lands that can improve economic opportunity and mobility while reducing the deficit. And despite all the evidence in this farm bill to the contrary, I believe we are still capable of finding that solution.
Mike Lee is a U.S. Senator from Utah and a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
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