>> I'm in the Elliot State Forest in Southwest Oregon, and this is Eric Johnson with Reuters News. I'm out here today with two conservationists who hunt and fish. And they work for organizations who are deeply opposed to federal land transfers. This is the idea Of taking federally managed and owned lands across the Western United States and transferring them to ownership at the state level.
The Elliot State Forest was transferred from the federal government about 100 years ago, and it's been in state control ever since. And right now, the state of Oregon is considering proposals to privatize this forest. They've sold off a number of parcels, and there are a number of companies bidding for it.
This location is emblematic of a fight that is playing out across the Western United States. The federal government owns nearly 44% of all of the land in the west, and it's managed by a number of its agencies. And we've seen in recent years an intensifying movement. Thousands of fly fishermen, hunters, hikers, conservationists, are banding together, forming a sometimes unusual coalition against the proposals to transfer federal land.
ople who are for the transfer movement make an economic case for transferring federal land to state control. They say that there's oil and gas deposits that are sitting dormant. They're upset that the federal government isn't taxed, so they can't harness any of the revenues or make revenues off this land.