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Over the past year, the Montana Environmental Quality Council, a legislative interim committee, has considered whether or not the federal government should sell public lands – the lands where we hike, ski, hunt and fish.

Montanans continue to cherish the priceless blessings of our public lands, which were described by our first state legislature as “lands belonging to the citizens of the United States.”

People come from all over the world to our state because they have access to these gorgeous landscapes. If we end up placing our lands in the control of private corporations, then that option will likely disappear.

The last thing we want is our public lands in the hands of a corporation, especially an out of state business interest. We’ve seen too many instances of a corporation pulling up stakes, declaring bankruptcy or selling to another corporation and leaving U.S. taxpayers with an incredible mess to clean up.

Our national forests and public lands are not for sale, transfer or disposal – not today, not as a last resort, not ever.

As a veteran and a Montanan, I consider this to be a very bad idea.

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If you agree, please contact your state legislator and tell them that these lands belong to all Americans, not a wealthy few.

Robert Hopkins, Missoula

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