California recently became the first state in the nation to put in place a law, authored by Senator Ben Allen (D – Santa Monica), that enables the state to block the sale or lease of federal land within its borders. The Public Lands Protection Act prohibits County Recorders from completing a change of title on these federal lands unless the State Lands Commission has been given a first right of refusal to purchase the land, thereby ensuring their protection.
The federal government filed a lawsuit today challenging the law. Senator Allen made the following statement in reaction to the federal lawsuit:
“The Public Lands Protection Act represents the will of the vast majority of Californians who believe public lands should remain in public hands. Many of these lands, such as national parks, national monuments and historic sites, have been enjoyed by the public for generations. We are simply asking that before any sell-off occurs, the state be given an opportunity to preserve them. This law provides a viable, legitimate mechanism to block an extreme agenda seeking to privatize public outdoor recreational treasures.”