, San Juan County Sheriff
The attempt by our state Legislature to confiscate American lands for local financial gain is bad theater. Besides Article 3 in the Utah Constitution rendering this attempt without legal or moral merit, one fact is abundantly clear to me: our state does not deserve the right to control these lands.
Our Legislature's sole focus on wringing money out of our soil makes them very poor stewards. Clever marketers feign a sudden interest in the poor funding of our public schools and make grandiose claims about the panacea of yet another boom-bust cycle of resource extraction. What they ignore is the enormous new cost of managing these lands and the damage private exploitation will do to places that belong to all Americans.
The decision to savagely cut our state parks in order to save each Utah resident roughly $1 annually should be proof enough of how our Legislature values public land. The Civil War provided an ugly but strong decision on the issue of state overreach. This bill will also likely be shot down, and while Utah will be $3 million poorer in legal fees, American citizens will retain rightful ownership of their lands.
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