Republican Party Platform of 1996


Improving Public Lands

The nation’s public lands - half the territory in the West - must be administered both for today’s multiple uses and for tomorrow’s generations. We support multiple use conducted in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner. We will preserve priority wilderness and wetlands - real wetlands of environmental significance, not the damp grounds of a bureaucrat’s imagination.

We support a thorough review of the lands owned by the federal government with a goal of transferring lands that can best be managed by State, county, or municipal governments. This review should ensure that the federal government retains ownership to unique property worthy of national oversight. Properties transferred from federal control must recognize existing property and mineral rights, including water, mining claims, grazing permits, rights of access, hunting, fishing, and contracts.

We recognize the historic use of public lands for livestock production in compliance with legal requirements. Our renewable rangeland should continue to be available under conditions that ensure both expanded production of livestock and protection of the rangeland environment. We condemn the Clinton Administration’s range war against this pillar of the western economy.

We recognize the need to keep our National Park System healthy and accessible to all. Our National Parks have a backlog of more than four billion dollars in maintenance and infrastructure repair projects. The nation’s natural crown jewels are losing some of their luster, tarnished by neglect and indifference. Our park system needs to be rebuilt, restructured, and reinvigorated to ensure that all Americans can enjoy and be proud of their parks.

We stand for sustainable forestry to stabilize and provide continuity for our timber industry and to improve the health of the country’s public forests. This requires active management practices, such as the responsible salvage harvesting of dead and diseased trees. The Democrats’ hands-off approach has made our great forests vulnerable to ravaging fires, insects, and disease.

The Democrats’ policies have devastated the economy of timber-dependent communities across the Pacific Northwest and in the Tongass National Forest, the Nation’s largest and most productive, to please elite special interests. We join families and communities in rural America who rely on public forests for their livelihood in calling for the federal government to carefully evaluate the socioeconomic impacts of its actions and to live up to its commitments to provide an adequate timber supply to dependent communities through sustainable forest management.

We reaffirm the traditional deference by the federal government to the States in the allocation and appropriation of water. We deplore the Clinton Administration’s disregard for State primacy through attempts to preempt State law with respect to water usage and watershed protection. We also recognize the need to protect adequate supplies of water for agriculture without unreasonable government mandates.

We support the original intent of the Mining Law of 1872: to provide the certainty and land tenure necessary for miners to risk tremendous capital investment on federal lands, thus preserving jobs - indeed, whole industries - and bolstering our domestic economy. We support appropriate changes to the law to ensure the taxpayer will receive a reasonable return for the value of extracted minerals. We oppose extremist attempts to shut down American mining in favor of our international competitors.


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Chicago: "Improving Public Lands," Republican Party Platform of 1996 in Republican National Committee, Republican Party Platform, 1996 Original Sources, accessed March 20, 2019,

MLA: . "Improving Public Lands." Republican Party Platform of 1996, in Republican National Committee, Republican Party Platform, 1996, Original Sources. 20 Mar. 2019.

Harvard: , 'Improving Public Lands' in Republican Party Platform of 1996. cited in , Republican National Committee, Republican Party Platform, 1996. Original Sources, retrieved 20 March 2019, from