A move by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this week to make it easier to transfer federal public lands to states is causing consternation in the Roaring Fork Valley.

“I think it’s corrupt,” said Pitkin County Commissioner Rachel Richards. “It’s robbery. They’re robbing the public of land forever.”

Will Roush, conservation director of the Carbondale-based Wilderness Workshop, agreed.

“(I’m feeling) disappointment, and maybe a little bit of surprise,” Roush said. “(House Natural Resources Committee Chairman) Rob Bishop and House Republicans are against public lands, but to see it happen so quickly was a surprise.”

The provision was part of a larger rules package approved by the House by a vote of 233 to 190 during the first day of its 2017 session. Previous rules said that if lawmakers wanted to transfer a piece of land to a state or local government, they would have to make up the federal revenue generated by that land.

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