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The federal government owns an estimated one-third of all the land in the United States. But this is only a rough estimate, because even the federal government does not actually know how much land it controls.
For those living on the East Coast who rarely encounter federal land, this may not seem like an important issue, but in western states, the vast amounts of land owned or controlled by the federal government are among the most important issues that states must face.
And the Obama administration is using the power of that land ownership to grind westerners under the federal boot, a kind of neo-feudalism where an absentee landlord federal government keeps western states and the citizens who live there as vassals and serfs.
Federal land ownership is heavily concentrated in the western states: in the 13 states west of Texas, the federal government owns or administers more than half of all land. In San Juan County, Utah, for example, only 8 percent of the land is privately owned, with only another 8 percent owned by the state of Utah.
And this land is overwhelmingly not used for national parks or military bases, which only amount to about 12 percent of federal land nationwide, and just 10 percent in San Juan County.
Federal lands are administered by a constellation of federal bureaus and agencies — with sometimes overlapping ownership and regulatory responsibilities — which compete to restrict and harass the people who live on or near federally controlled land.