Trying to reason with election season
October 14, 2016
To provide for the orderly disposal of certain Federal lands, to benefit education and other purposes through the sales of such lands, to consolidate Federal lands to improve management, to provide for the acquisition of lands for recreational and other opportunities, and for other purposes.
AVON — Radio ads are accusing a Western Slope congressman of trying to sell public land. The congressman says those ads are wrong.
Rep. Scott Tipton, an incumbent Republican representing most of western Colorado, is the target of a series of radio and television ads by his Democratic opponent, Gail Schwartz, a former state senator who lives near Crested Butte.
Schwartz'' ads say Tipton is trying to sell public land and references the HEARD Act. The radio ad narrator accuses Tipton of trying to sell public lands to out-of-state donors and "fat cat friends."
That's not true, said Michael Fortney from Tipton's campaign.
"It's an election that has grown in visibility across the state. She has focused on this issue. She can say whatever she wants in her ad, but that doesn't make it true," Fortney said.
The Schwartz campaign said, "There are a certain number of bills that might not sell lands but could have an impact on public lands."
The latest incarnation of the HEARD Act calls for the "orderly disposal of certain federal land" that was already for sale. It tweaks a federal law passed a century ago that regulates how federal agencies complete those sales. The law deals with land the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have already said they want to sell.
Tipton, who opposed a Forest Service attempt to usurp ski-industry water rights and transfer them to federal control, said he wants to open the listed land for more uses, and criticized "unelected bureaucrats" who impose "miles of red tape" that prohibit those additional uses.
"I support multiple-use access on our federal public lands that includes recreation, grazing and energy development where appropriate," Tipton told the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.
Schwartz said Tipton misses the point.
"There's a dangerous movement nationally and in Congress to sell and transfer our public lands," Schwartz told the Sentinel. "Scott Tipton's record clearly shows a pattern of alignment with the proponents of this movement."
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or email@example.com.