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Poll shows Utahns think Legislature's land grab lawsuit is not worth the tax dollars

Published: Thursday, May 31 2012 2:41 p.m. MDT

A new poll commissioned by Republican environmentalists shows 63 percent of Utahns believe the Legislature's lawsuit demanding the federal government turn over control of 30 million acres of public lands to the state of Utah is not worth the estimated $3 million price tag for the suit.

Stuart Johnson, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — A new poll commissioned by Republican environmentalists shows 63 percent of Utahns believe the Legislature's lawsuit demanding the federal government turn over control of 30 million acres of public lands to the state of Utah is not worth the estimated $3 million price tag for the suit.

The poll asked if respondents believe it is worth spending the tax dollars to sue the federal government if the Utah Attorney General's Office believes the lawsuit "is likely to be unconstitutional."

Republican respondents in the survey were split about the value of pursuing the lawsuit, with half of Republicans questioning expenditure of tax funds for such a fight.

The survey of 452 Utahns was taken as part of a monthly omnibus telephone survey conducted by Dan Jones & Associates. The poll was conducted May 1-May 18, and has a margin of error of 4.6 percent

"There are far more productive ways to spend $3 million of tax dollars," said Jim DiPeso, police director for ConservAmerica, a group of Republicans who share an environmental conservation ethic. "We call on all Americans, particularly our Republican colleagues, to find more constructive ways to conserve our public lands for our children and grandchildren, while allowing them to work for local economies."

"The estimated cost of managing these lands is $300 million per year." said Philip Carlson, ConservAmerica's Utah coordinator. "As conservatives, we are all focusing on fiscal responsibility these days. It's irresponsible to spend money on a lawsuit the Utah Attorney General's office has already said is likely to be thrown out as unconstitutional."

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