The law governing how minerals can be extracted from public land was enacted in 1872 when Ulysses S. Grant was president of the United States. By almost any standard, such a dated law warrants substantial revision to bring it in line with contemporary realities.

The U.S. Senate will soon pass judgment on the appointment of Montanan Tracy Stone-Manning to head the Bureau of Land Management — the agency that administers some 8.3 million acres of land in Montana and the Dakotas.

Last week, Tracy Stone-Manning’s nomination to lead the Bureau of Land Management advanced out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, bound for a Senate floor vote to hopefully confirm her appointment to oversee nearly 250 million acres of our much-loved public lands.

I used to dismiss as a peculiar form of psychosis the desire of some troubled souls to silence and censor the right of others to speak and think freely. After all, the impulse to gag the mouth and shut the mind of another individual is hardly what we would call “normal.” Compelling others to…