Harvard university press; Marsha Miller
By Rob Jordan, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment
The federal government has made clear its intention to open U.S. coastal waters to offshore drilling, but Californians beg to differ. Like Florida – alone among coastal states in receiving an exemption to the drilling plan – California relies on its iconic coastline for economic stimulus, recreation and other cherished values.
To this day the U.S. government owns almost half of the land in the American West.
That level of control has been debated ever since the government began acquiring the areas in the 19th century, with some westerners resenting the vastness of the federal authority, which amounts to 47 percent of land in 11 states. Some states, like Nevada, where the government owns 84.5 percent of the land, see more control than others.