The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author, and may not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Sheridan County Republican Party
In today's Cowboy State Daily, the story reported that the Legislature is urging the sale of the Kelly Parcel of land, a 640-acre parcel in Teton County, directly to the Federal Government for the sum of not less than $100M (or $156,250 per acre).
The question: Why? How is this good for Wyoming? Why would we sell the federal government any MORE land in the State? I thought we as a people were inclined to exert more control over our own, Congressionally-granted territory, not less. Second, this runs smack on the rocks of the the US Constitution, which states in Article 1, Section 8 that the Federal Government may only own land for the purposes of erecting forts, arsenals, dockyards or other needful buildings. "To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;" You see, with that clause, the Federal Government may only purchase land from within a state (with the consent of the State legislature) for those express purposes. It seems the framers intended that the Federal Government not exert territorial control over tracts of land within any of the States, except for these express purposes. The section referenced makes the Federal Government ineligible to be a buyer, unless of course it is the intent to put a fort, arsenal, or other needful building on that spot (assuming there will be no dock-yard).
For reinforcement, it is worth remembering that this is the supreme law of the land:
"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."
With this statement, regardless of our own constitution saying we can sell land to the Federal Government, the supremacy clause supercedes that element of our charter. (Article 18 of our constitution provides for the acceptance and disposition of land.)
Any of our legislators or State Land Commissioners who care to inform the rest of us of the intent behind selling this property, a response here would be welcome. Feel free to comment below, or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.