This is not Rep. Chaffetz’s first dalliance with extremist anti-conservation proposals that try to degrade public lands or tear them away from the American people. He has previously supported measures to eliminate presidents’ ability to protect land as national monuments, and to allow widespread motorized access to wilderness areas.
Chaffetz’s bill, which he previously introduced in a slightly different form, would sell lands in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming to reduce the federal deficit. A poll conducted just a few months after the first time he introduced the legislation in 2013 showed that 72 percent of voters in western states would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supports selling public lands to reduce the budget deficit. Most voters in his own state said they are less likely to vote for a candidate who proposes the sale of federal lands, too.