- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - More than 1,000 people from across the state joined a rally inside the Montana Capitol against federal land transfers while calling for improved access to public lands.

The Independent Record reports (http://bit.ly/2jnS0eU ) Gov. Steve Bullock was among those at Monday’s event and spoke out against proposals to transfer public lands in Montana.

State Sen. Jennifer Fielder is sponsoring legislation to study federal land conveyance and to request conveyance, although both bills remain on hold.

Opponents of transferring federal lands to state ownership worry about the land ending up under private ownership. They say that’s a possibility for states that struggle with land management costs and are forced to sell.

Supporters of federal land transfers argue that national policies hinder growth in the timber and mineral industries and limit public access.

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Information from: Independent Record, http://www.helenair.com

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