Public Lands

The Issue:

Never yield to the felonious belief that somehow, the state of Utah is ‘owed’ 32,000,000 acres of public land. That is a faulty myth that has very dangerous consequences. Given its track record, if the legislature and governor got ahold of Utah’s public land the consequences would be catastrophic. People that love an open, free, unexploited, unfenced, outdoor recreation friendly, hunting and fishing availability land – would be fenced out by the huge corporate interests that the state would sell the land to.

Frivolous State Lawsuits on Public Land – The Facts:

Utah spends uncounted millions of dollars (calculatingly segregated into many state budgets–so as to make a total number tough to find) to fund lawsuits against the Feds. The idea is to ‘demand back’ 32,000,000 acres of public land that is in the state.

What they won’t tell you: Utah will lose. Utah ENABLING ACT, the agreement with the Feds that gave Utah statehood (approved July 16, 1894), is the contract signed between the people of Utah and the USA that allowed Utah to become part of the USA, create a state constitution and form a state government.

The Enabling Act reads:

“That the people inhabiting said proposed State do agree and declare that they FOREVER disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within the boundaries thereof; the same shall be and remain subject to the disposition of the United States, such lands shall be exempt from taxation by said State so long and to such extent as such act of Congress may prescribe.” Read it and weep! Negotiate, stop trying to intimidate.

The Solution: Respect the Federal authority of the Supremacy clause. Accept that Utah is a junior partner in the relationship. Then, as a state, sit down with the Feds and hold serious sensible negotiations on land trades and agreements. This exchange is very necessary but so far it has been impossible.

Over generations, the Utah GOP has been unwilling to face the facts of Public lands. The political price of not appeasing the extremists in their party has been too high to allow for serious discussions. So, at taxpayers’ expense, Utah has built up a multi-million dollar cottage industry of lawyers, PR firms, consultants and state bureaucrats who profit fabulously off the continued fantasy public land legal fight. That must end!

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