Interesting column (click) by Timothy Egan on Mitt Romney and public lands. He says he doesn’t know what good they are and that they should be turned over to the private sector.
Mitt doesn’t know what public lands are for?
That’s an interesting question considering that the Olympic games he allegedly saved in 2002 were held, for the most part, on Public Land.
Snowbasin ski resort above Ogden, which hosted all the major downhill ski events, only owns a couple thousand acres of the land its main lodge and parking lots sit on. All the ski runs, all the mountain lodges, are on public land administered by the US Forest Service, for which Snowbasin pays the US about $140,000 a year for the use of.
This doesn’t count the billions in highways the Federal Government paid to upgrade Utah Roads for the games, such as the massive rebuild of I-15.
One key example: The federal government paid $14 million for a new access road to Snowbasin expressly to make the resort more usable during the Games. That road also crosses that public land, so the right of way I assume was free.
This is the stance of the candidate who now lambastes people who accept public aid and claims to support people who “built” what they have without government help.
Earl Holding, the owner of Snowbasin, couldn’t have built his bunny hill without the Federal Government letting him and helping him along the way, and Mitt’s Olympics would have been nowhere without the close cooperation and aid of the Forest Service. The whole shebang is on land that Ogden City originally bought in the 1930s because, under private ownership, it had been laid waste, stripped of timber, and allowed to become a pestilent seep for dead cattle to degrade into Ogden’s water system.
So much for private enterprise protecting the public out of concern for some greater good.
The hypocrisy stinks to high heaven.
I live in Ogden. I covered the 2002 games for the Ogden Standard-Examiner, I was on the mountain the day Mitt cussed out a hapless volunteer trying to direct traffic, and I know.