Comments about ‘My view: Public lands in the East and West — Why the difference?’

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Published: Tuesday, June 17 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Salt Lake City, UT

"Failed federal policies are devastating forests, killing millions of animals, spewing billions of pounds of pollution into the air and have decimated watersheds for decades. This is not the case on private, state and tribal forests. " Prove it!

I believe much of Utah is in Federal ownership because the Federal government purchased it from Mexico. Correct?

Virginia Beach, VA

Why the difference?

It is probably due to the fact that the millions of Americans who took advantage of the Homestead Act, which gave free land to farmers, would not have had a chance of producing a crop of anything except rocks on that arid land, and so there was no point in including that land along with the Homestead giveaway.

Whatever the reason, it is what it is.

And it's a good thing. States by and large have proven themselves much less responsible than the Federal government in responsibly utilizing that land as consistent with the best interests of the people.

seattle, WA

I think the simple reason that states don't "control" the federally owned and controlled public lands is that the rest of the country does not trust the various states to do the right thing.

Imagine if one state or another had control of now public property. I see nothing but mining pits the size of New jersey or a sea of oil derricks. All of this "development" would pollute not only the state but also the rest of the country. I see the devastation of public forests, pollution of lakes and overgrazing of public lands.

Apparently, this is the estimation of the rest of the country as well. Nope, don't trust some of the various states contending for control of federal lands. It ought to be preserved for everyone.

Bountiful, UT

Two pieces of information should give Utahns pause about having the US give this massive handout to our state legislature:

1. Over half of the land originally set aside for Utahs's school children has been sold off, never to benefit our children again. Now the legislature and other right-wing fanatics are asking for more land, again to ostensibly benefit our school children. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me".

2. One of our rural counties has convinced the state to sell over 1000 acres of state land to private interests, so the county can get more property tax revenue. Any guesses how they would handle additional land given to them?

Does anyone seriously believe the Legislature would be able to make wise decisions that will impact generations in the future? The Legislature has difficulty resisting local economic interests for short term gain, and actually, since there is no real conflict-of-interest laws prohibiting it, the Legislators can shamelessly usher through laws that directly benefit them.

Case in point: Ken Ivory is a real estate developer.

slc, ut

"Forever disclaim all right a title" That sounds pretty cut and dried to me Rep. Ivory

Springville, UT

This is a self-serving piece, meant to foment the issue, which means more support for Ivory's lobbying group, which means a secure income for him. Too bad he has never convinced me that other than serving the special economic interests of a few, his plan would benefit Utahns as a whole. It doesn't.

Springville, UT

By the way, visit West Virginia or Western Pennsylvania and take a look at the strip mining. Go to the Hudson River Valley and look at all the fences around beautiful, undeveloped land that tell folks to get lost. Go to any number of streams in the East where fishing is prohibited because it means accessing private lands. The folks like Ivory are selling something that would mean a great loss to something that makes Utah special. You won't like it if he gets his way.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

Why the huge rush to privatize Utah public lands?

The future of Utah is intellectual capital, and we attract it with high quality of life. This means clean air, well run governments, cultural venues, and outdoor recreation.

Worldwide, countries that live on mineral wealth are corrupt, horrible places to live. Anyone want to move to Saudi Arabia, South Africa, or Nigeria?

We need more talk about education, and less dreams of tar sands, coal mines, and oil shale.

one old man
Ogden, UT

Mr. Ivory is on the trail of the scent of MONEY again.

William Gronberg
Payson, UT

Mr. Ivory's second paragraph is a textbook example of taking selected and/or false facts to prove a false conclusion. He is allegedly disposing of the "arid" FACTOR in the majority federal ownership of western states.

He claims that "Oregon, Washington and Alaska are the states with the most precipitation..."


It is indeed wet west of the Cascade Mountains and the Alaska panhandle is very wet.

#1 Hawaii 63 inches
#2 Louisiana 60 inches
#3 Mississippi 59 inches
#29 Washington 38 inches
#36 Oregon 27 inches
#39 Alaska 22 inches

Mr. Ivory should tour Harney and Lake counties in Oregon. I would claim that aridity is the major reason they contain 18,000 square miles and a total population of 16,000 people.

Southeastern Oregon is often called their "Outback". Like most of Australia, it is arid and with few people. The Rum Jungle near Darwin does not prove that Australia is endowed with plentiful precipitation.

Aridity is indeed a major FACTOR in the ownership and settlement of the western states of the United States of America.


@10cc First of all a disclaimer, I don't know Ivory, nor did I know he was the ivory of the property developer. There are some issues with what you said, here they are; First if the federal government owns the land, taxes cannot be collected from it. Payment in Lieu of Taxes (pilt) runs seriously below market value. Second, The insustrial park that I work in was all School trust land. It was sold off to private entities and those private entities pay property taxes, I believe at a higher rate than residential. On my houses property tax, over 75% of the taxes paid to the county, are alocated to the school district. Your statement that "Over half of the land originally set aside for Utah's school children has been sold off, never to benefit our children again." is misinformed at best, or outright false at worst.

Salt Lake City, UT

The far eastern states were largely settled into towns and communities before the U.S. government even existed. The western states were largely purchased by the U.S. government before being significantly settled by Americans. That's the main difference.

Provo, UT

Finally, a common-sense, educational statement on federal/private ownership of land within a state's borders. Thank you, Mr. Ivory.

(On a side note, boy, the enviros are sure in a tizzy over this thread and still haven't made a good argument.)

Blanding, UT

In my humble opinion Utah and other western states should be treated the same way the eastern states have been. Federal control seems to not only shut down energy development but is putting further restrictions on visitors to the point of making even that source of income less likely.

American Fork, UT

Mr. Ivory. I suggest if you like the idea of your state owning all of the land within it's boundaries that you move out East. Have fun paying insane amounts of money for hunting on private land and good luck finding a spot where you can camp your jeep and watch the stars without trespassing on private land. The public lands in Utah are one of the things that make this state great, without them a whole lot of us would move elsewhere. How would that be for economic improvement?

Most of the rest of us in this state love our public lands and are quite upset with your crusade of trying to take them away, privatize them, and give them to the state so they can be sold off for real estate development (funny how that's your background isn't it) and energy extraction. Last I checked Eastern Utah is in a huge oil and gas boom, so it's a bit hard to feel sorry for you that you can't drill, mine, and develop every acre of our state.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Read the Constitution. The Federal Government is not allowed to own land except for a district that is 10 miles square, or for forts, magazines of for federal buildings. The people of New York have no "joint ownership" of land in Utah. The people of the commonwealth of Virginia have no "joint ownership" of land in Utah. The State of Utah is separate and distinct from all other States. We are not a "county" of the Federal Government. We are a State. As a State, we have full autonomy, just as New York, or Virginia, or Mississippi has.

If the people of New York think that they own Utah, then the people of Utah have equal claim to the property of New York. How about handing over Manhatten to all the citizens of the United States?

Virginia Beach, VA

Mike Richards -

It is true that we the people of the United States own that public land in Utah.

You must as well accept and embrace that fact.

That means, BTW, that Utahns can't exploit that land at America's expense.

Get used to that too.

Steve C. Warren

Mike Richards wrote: "We are a State. As a State, we have full autonomy, just as New York, or Virginia, or Mississippi has."

This is completely false.

the truth
Holladay, UT

There is big deception by the left.

It is not between federal and private but between federal and state ownership.

And it is ludicrous to believe the feds can control better than the state.

It is insulting to say the eastern state stares can control their lands but the western state states cannot.

When a state became a state the lands should have turned over to them?

The real question is why didn't that happen? The eastern state didn't have that problem.

Keaau, HI

@liberal larry, you asked:
"Why the huge rush to privatize Utah public lands? "
My response -Because I'd rather see America in the hands of Americans than in the hands of China or any other Anti-Americans.

You stated:
"We need more talk about education, and less dreams of tar sands, coal mines, and oil shale."
My response- Are you also one to think that we can just run to the grocery stores when the cattleman and farmers are all put out of business?
I agree with 'the truth' in the statement, "It is not between federal and private but between federal and state ownership. And it is ludicrous to believe the feds can control better than the state.
It is insulting to say the eastern state can control their lands but the western states cannot".

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