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Sagebrush Rebellion

  • By: Kristen Van Hooreweghe
  • In: Green Politics: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Dustin Mulvaney & Paul Robbins
  • Subject:Environmental Sociology, Environmental Technology, Policy & Management, Environmental Policy & Law (general)

In 1979, roughly a dozen states in the American West launched the Sagebrush Rebellion (SBR), demanding the transfer of public lands managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to state control. The dispute was rooted in early land ordinances wherein western territories relinquished claims to public land titles in exchange for statehood. By 1979, the federal government owned roughly 96 percent of Alaska; 86 percent of Nevada; over one-half of Utah, Idaho, and Oregon; and over one-third of California, Arizona, and Wyoming. Although a land transfer remained the central focus, reasons for the rebellion included conflicts over federal versus state power, urban versus rural concerns, and environmental conservation versus economic development. In all likelihood, a complex combination of these factors contributed to the rebellion. ...

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