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.
The report, prepared by lawyers hired by the Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands, "recommends that the Commission and Legislature urge the Governor and the Attorney General of the State of Utah to consider instituting litigation against the United States of America under the Original Jurisdiction of the United States Supreme Court."
The report said the goal would be to gain control of federal lands, which comprise almost two-thirds of Utah's land. Early estimates provided by attorneys indicate a lawsuit would cost taxpayers around $14 million and take six months to file an action before the nation's top court.
The commission's lawyers acknowledged that litigation against the federal government would be "time consuming, expensive and never certain in outcome." It also pointed out that the federal government would "most likely vigorously oppose this effort."
Still, it identified three legal theories Utah could pursue:
- The Equal Sovereignty Principle, that states be equal in footing within the federal system;
- The Equal Footing Doctrine, a claim that Utah should have dominion over lands within its borders;
- The Compact Theory, claiming historic evidence that the United States had a duty to dispose of public lands within Utah's borders.
See the full article here... http://fox13now.com/2015/12/09/utah-encouraged-to-sue-federal-government-for-control-of-public-lands/