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I just read the article about Bruce Babbitt bashing President Bush over opening nearly 400,000 acres for oil and gas drilling in Alaska. There are several different opinions floating around about whether or not this is even necessary. What I'd like to address is Babbitt's comments that "it violates environmental safeguards implemented by the Clinton administration."
The fact of the matter is that the federal government doesn't have the right to decide what we do in Alaska with our state-owned public lands. Matter of fact, the Constitution says very clearly in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 that the federal government is not allowed to own any lands except for the use of "forts, arsenals, dockyards and other needful buildings." Don't believe me? Go look it up. There is no stipulation in the Constitution for the federal government to own land for national parks, national forests, wetland refuges or any other such use.
Plain and simple: The state of Alaska owns all of the public lands within the state, not the federal government. It's time that all of the states demand their rights be re-instated as our forefathers intended. When the states resume ownership of the public lands in their borders, jobs will be created; royalties from oil, gas and mining operations currently being paid to the federal government will stay in the states' coffers; and the people who live, work, pay taxes and vote in those states will have the final decision as to whether or not a new oil well is drilled.
The bottom line is this: No matter what your stand is on drilling in Alaska, it behooves all of us to write to our elected officials from the White House on down and demand that the public lands within the state of Alaska be returned to the rightful owners - the people of Alaska.