by Melissa Anderson and American Lands Council; Alan Gardner
UTAH - Supporters of a movement by several organizations nationwide are headed to Washington, D.C. Jan. 19, to address what they say is an economic, environmental, and constitutional crises facing the nation.
January 9, 2016
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- An attorney general's investigation could not find anyone who felt cheated by a Utah lawmaker's nonprofit advocating federal land transfers to states, leading to a decision not to pursue prosecution
“With more than 50 percent of the West in federal holdings (only four percent in the East), Congress and agencies in gridlock, and judges and environmental [special-interest] groups taking over federal-land management, hope of preventing future massive fires is bleak, without serious radical change. Currently, there is little incentive to return to commonsense management of our God-given natural resources with which the American West has been blessed. Those who live on and with the land have understood and practiced stewardship for generations.”Read more
Under the umbrella name “Transfer of Public Lands,” the movement offers a solution to the problem that is simple in concept: transfer ownership and management of public lands administered by federal agencies to equivalent state agencies. These agencies, being accountable to governors, state legislators and citizens, will manage the public lands in a more conscientious, cost-effective way.
“You look at the map of the states west of the Rockies excluding Hawai’i. More than 50 percent of that land is controlled by the federal government; less than five percent of the land east of the Rockies is controlled by the federal government,” Ivory said. “Our Union can’t operate on that basis. That’s why the Supreme Court said two years ago the constitutional equality of the states is essential for our federated Union to even function.”Read more
“Utah has been treated as decidedly less than an equal sovereign, a result, as the Supreme Court recently reaffirmed in Shelby County v. Holder, the Constitution does not allow.” Legal Analysis, page 12
This is the conclusion of the team of preeminent constitutional scholars and legal experts from across the nation, which is supported by the 146-page Legal Analysis they prepared for the Utah Commission on the Stewardship of Public Lands that was delivered earlier this month.Read more
St. George New, December 10, 2015 -- The main argument in support of the lawsuit is that the federal government does not have the constitutional authority to permanently retain Utah lands. The document cites three legal theories that it believes gives Utah the right to claim the lands in question: Equal Sovereignty Principle, the Equal Footing Doctrine and the Compact Theory.
The basis of the legal group’s argument is Utah is treated as a lesser member of the states of the union and has not been given the same rights as other states to have dominion over the lands within its borders.Read more
By Brady McCombs
SALT LAKE CITY — The federal government controls two-thirds of the land in Utah and the state says it's prepared fight to get it back. A Republican-dominated commission of Utah legislators voted Wednesday to move forward with a lawsuit challenging the U.S. government's control of federal lands — the latest salvo in a long-running feud.Read more
DECEMBER 9, 2015, BY BEN WINSLOW
SALT LAKE CITY -- A report prepared for a state commission over public lands has recommended that Utah's governor and attorney general consider suing the federal government for control of public lands within the state.Read more
Far too much of the Forest Service’s budget is spent responding to litigation initiated by armchair quarterbacks who seem have little understanding of the complexity of forest health management.Read more