Ketchikan, AK -- On a campaign visit to Ketchikan, Alaska, today, Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan called for abolition of the federal Bureau of Land Management. "It is time to give BLM lands back to the states," Buchanan said, "without restrictions or federal mandates."
"Like many people here in Alaska, and most conservatives across America," said Buchanan, "I am a conservationist, not a preservationist. Preservationists behave as if everything in nature is good except for man. I believe in the Biblical truth that everything in nature is meant to serve man -- but not to be abused by man.
"Because ever region of America has its own special beauty and history, I believe in setting aside National Parks to preserve the true landmarks of our national heritage. That is why I fought the Disney corporation when it tried to develop a giant theme park near the Manassas battlefield in Virginia. Your children and grandchildren should not be denied the opportunity to stand where Stonewall Jackson stood, and see what Stonewall Jackson saw, when the Army of the Potomac first crossed the river to engage the forces of the Confederacy.
"Your children and grandchildren should also have the opportunity to visit a virgin forest as magnificent as some of the forests that surround this town. But that does not mean the government in Washington must lock up, and declare off limits, most of Alaska.
"When I am president, I will put people first by establishing a conservation policy and a Western-lands policy based on states rights and property rights. I will:
"Abolish the Bureau of Land Management: The BLM controls a third of the state of Alaska. Vast expanses of the West are governed by this unelected federal bureaucracy in Washington, D.C. It is time to give BLM lands back to the states -- without conditions or mandates. The people of the West can decide for themselves how best to use their own lands.
"Force Congress to Vote on Every Endangered Species and to Compensate Affected Property Owners: We all want to see the bald eagle and grizzly bear survive. But under current law, unelected bureaucrats can declare a rat or a bird or an insect endangered, and then an unelected judge can shut down economic activity on millions of acres of land. The Endangered Species Act should be revamped. Congress should be forced to vote on every endangered species and property owners should be compensated whenever their land is seized and converted into a protected habitat. After all, property rights was one of the driving forces of the American Revolution.
"No one cares more about conserving the land than people who live on it. If the people of Massachusetts and Connecticut can govern their own lands, why cannot the people of Arizona and Alaska?"