“The recent armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge stoked long-simmering frustrations over what some Westerners perceive as an inequity.
In the 11 Western states, the federal government controls about half the land, plus more in Alaska. Yet it only controls about 4 percent of the rest of the nation’s acres.
“Our system does not work if you have a back-of-the-bus class of states,” said Ken Ivory, a Republican state representative from Utah who has spearheaded national campaigns to transfer federal lands to Western states. “To have federal bureaucrats from thousands of miles away who are accountable to no one is not working.””