You have to wonder if there is no limit to the greed and lust for power that we will witness out of our national government. The national government already "owns" one-third of the land mass of the nation. This is despite the fact that there is no constitutional authority for it to own any land that it has not purchased with the consent of the affected state. The federal government even admits in section 102 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act that it holds land "not designated for any specific use."

When we are talking about a government that was intended to be limited to 20 specific, enumerated powers, I have to wonder which of those powers allows it to own land that it has no use for. It takes the Supreme Court to figure out a way around that little point.But now Clinton intends to ask for authority to spend $620 million next year to buy more land. This is supposed to be smaller government? Some members of Con-gress responded that some of the costs of government, such as revising the Endangered Species Act, should be funded from sales of unneeded federal lands.

This sounds reasonable given that the "gummit" owns land that it has admitted it has no use for. But nothing can be that sensible in Washington.

One of the loudest voices of opposition to federal land sales, along with the standard bevy of rich, national environmental organizations, was Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada. This is a strange posture for a senator from a state that is 88 percent "owned" by the federal government. Since his opposition makes no sense in a rational world, I have to wonder what other payoff he is getting. From whom? And at who's expense?

Paul L. Young

St. George