Environment: Capitalism v. Conservation

Since 1792 when the U.S. Government began buying land in earnest, federal holdings have grown enormously, and so have the headaches. Today the Government owns 755 million acres of land, one-third of the nation. The result is a poorly managed tangle of jurisdictions, contradictions and bureaucracies; a 100-by-50-mi. area of southeast Idaho, for example, is administered by more than 100 federal, state, county and local agencies.

Last week the Public Land Law Review Commission, a supercommittee established by an act of Congress in 1964, issued a 342-page report aimed at clearing away the...

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