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The Gradual Selling of America the Beautiful - By VERLYN KLINKENBORG NYTimes.com

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"Of the 2.27 billion acres that constitute the land area of the United States, a little less than 30 percent belongs to you, the American citizen. It is land acquired over the years by treaty, conquest or purchase by the federal government acting on behalf of the people, and indisputably belongs to neither the states nor individuals....the real threat to the public lands is not from Congress, or the state legislatures, whose laws would almost certainly be struck down as unconstitutional.... hard-rock mining, oil and gas development. Especially vulnerable are the 248 million acres overseen by the Bureau of Land Management....Only about a third of the 640 million acres of public land -- national parks, permanently protected wilderness -- enjoy complete or high levels of protection... Nearly all the rest is multiuse land, for logging, grazing, hard-rock mining, oil and gas development."

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