Oregon lawmakers propose state control of public land

Carl Wilson says he does not support selling Oregon's public land into private ownership

A view of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, April 29, 2016 (KOIN)
A view of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, April 29, 2016 (KOIN)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) – More than half the land in Oregon is owned by the federal government, but Republican lawmakers there have raised the possibility of transferring it to state control.

The Statesman Journal reports that a bill sponsored by Grants Pass Republican Carl Wilson and three other lawmakers would create a task force to analyze the costs and benefits of such a move.

Wilson says he does not support selling Oregon’s public land into private ownership.

During a hearing on the proposal, every public speaker offering testimony opposed the idea of state control. Conservation and sportsman’s groups say Oregon couldn’t afford to manage the land, while others disputed the need to fund such a task force when Oregon is facing a $1.8 billion shortfall.