States Rights Need To Be Expanded

The polls show a great national dissatisfaction with big government. Our economy is without growth, and wages have become stagnant. The infrastructure of roadways, bridges, water and  sewer systems are in disrepair. Maybe it is time to shift big government omnipotent control that is not working by downsizing and transferring some of our federal government functions to State governments.   There is a political support for shared governance of federal lands between federal agencies and State government. In Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon Utah and Wyoming, nearly half of the land is under the control of the Federal Government.  Arizona  also has a huge percentage of Indian Reservations. The Whitehouse and Clinton/Sanders are opposed to any transfer or say in the management of Federal lands. States know first-hand how to best improve the economy by rebuilding our infrastructure with the natural resources within the public lands controlled by big federal government.  This change of control to the States would create an economic boost, with good wages and reduce welfare.  This is not a pipe-dream, as our constitution addresses this issue.

Article X in the first ten Amendments that took effect December 15, 1791 reads: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively or to the people.” It appears to me that public lands under the supervision of federal agencies should require the Governor of the State where the land is located to have the ultimate authority for permitting or authorizing use of such lands.  Federal agencies that are responsible to protect the environment, endangered species, water, air and safety and health should have only an advisory responsibility to define applicable Code of Federal Regulations. The applicant for federal land use shall, in their application, agree to ensure for compliance.

Often people do not comprehend that in the past, when the environment was abused, there were no protective regulations. Today’s environmental requirements provide little opportunity to cause damage to water, air and life.  Current practices of issuing permits or authorization of land use is a time-consuming and costly process that is anti-free- enterprise, the free marketplace is an assault on the national economy. The current process allows for the rejection of the permit or authority on the speculation that a violation of the Code of Federal Regulations will occur.  This is a direct violation of our democratic concept that no one shall be judged guilty of a crime that has not been committed.

There are two constraints to expand the expansion of the States Rights are: first the applicant requesting the permit or authority for land use can request a hearing concerning a particular Federal Regulation is not applicable. The State’s Attorney General oversees States right activities will make an appropriate ruling. The Federal agency retains inspection authority and shall report violations of the Code of Regulations to the State’s Attorney to ensure for compliance and fines for continued gross disregard for established Federal requirements.  If the States Attorneys General fails to initiate action, the federal agency can appeal to a federal court.

The Governor has the authority to allow the Federal agency to continue to administer land use where they have an exemplary record of good management. The U.S. Forrest Services has managed timber sales in a manner that has promoted forest growth while providing facilities for public recreational use. However, they are outside of their primary expertise to oversee mine and industrial development.  In the event the Governor chooses to veto a permit for mining, real estate development, cattle grazing or other business activity, he or she must seek endorsement of a veto from the State Legislator and in some issues, also a require a vote by the citizens in the county rejecting the applicants request for a permit.

The need for enhancing State’s Rights is the current process, which has imposed unreasonable delays that last years.  Rosemont Mine has been delayed over eight years, which is a wrongful restriction of free enterprise. The Governor must initiate a review process that does not exceed 90 days.  The mining industry, provides highly paid employment, compared for example, to tourism. However, mine development has been a target with false allegations.

Further, the U.S. President’s executive orders to halt the Keystone Pipeline is a direct affront to People’s rights to intrude over citizens’ rights to develop their economic base. The Governors process for granting permits should encourage the learned assessments of the economic benefits of the applicants request for permits by the local Chamber of Commerce and the appropriate trade associations.  An overriding priority of the Governors permit process is the agreement by the permit application to comply with the applicable Federal laws. Speculative comments to create public alarm against the project has no credibility, and should be identified as without fact in the evaluation process.

In the last few decades, the Federal government has grown into an uncontrolled monster that no longer considers our nation is “One of the People, For the People, by the People.” State rights expansion will return the use of public lands to the local community. The current process  encourages a Federal power grab that place public land off-limits to reasonable development based on technology that  fosters economic prosperity. To make America Great Again includes expanding State control of the permitting and authority to  promote the use of public land for grazing, mining, petroleum, transportation and other uses.

In view of our national 20 Trillion dollar debt, the size and involvement in local affairs by our federal government, it is time to expand States Rights.  A tremendous reduction in the Federal government’s size will be a big step forward in eliminating a 20+ Trillion dollar debt!  The greatest benefit in addition to dismantling the costly federal bureaucracy with States Rights to manage public lands is that the errors and omissions are best seen by the citizens at the local level who will demand reform. Washington D.C. is out of touch and is well insulated from reform by lobbyists who control Congress.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has over six billion dollars in hidden slush funds that make their handlers rich and do nothing for the environment and people. The EPA cleanup of contaminated old and abandoned mines needs oversight and approval of methods and the contract at the State level. . The expansion of States Rights in the use and protection of what is really State property is needed to ensure for the residents of their State rights to ensure for oversight of their property.

About David V. MacCollum 63 Articles
David V. MacCollum is a past president of the American Society of Safety Engineers and was a member of the first U.S. Secretary of Labor's Construction Safety Advisory Committee [1969-1972]. He is the author of: Construction Safety Planning (Jun 16, 1995) Crane Hazards and Their Prevention (Jan 1, 1991) Construction Safety Engineering Principles (McGraw-Hill Construction Series): Designing and Managing Safer Job Sites Jan 8, 2007) Building Design and Construction Hazards (May 15, 2005)


  1. 92 Million Americans out of work is why Trump is so popular. The elected officials of each State need to have a set of balls and tell the Feds to buzz off. However, the money trail from the Feds to the States is too strong which deflates the size of those balls! Texas is the exception if they tell the Bushes to buzz off!

  2. “States Rights”?…like the Old South??…..the generally Deplorable/less than Second Rate System of Public Education under Local Control with NO National Standards??….the under current of Racism/Homophobia …I think NOT!!!!

  3. Mr. Trump has started a revolution and it is up to the intelligent voters to help him, and others like him, in his efforts to make our country great again. This is the only way a revolution in our once great country can succeed as if ever came down to using ARMS against them the Federal Government would use THEIR MILITARY MACHINE to Slaughter us.

    At the present time our lives are ruled over/controlled by the LARGEST Terroristic, Criminal, Organization ever known to mankind, and it’s lower CELLS at the STATE, COUNTY and CITY levels.

    “to the polls ye sons and daughters of LIBERTY”……GO TRUMP, GO TRUMP, GO TRUMP.

  4. An important and well thought out article. The 10th Amendment is one very important tool for States to regain the rights granted by the Constitution and lost to centuries of “mission creep” we the people have allowed the Federal Government. The issues regarding State vs Federal ownership and control of land within the borders of a State are difficult and worthy of our attention and informed debate.

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