As a frequent visitor with strong affection for the state and its people, I am deeply concerned about Utah's insistence that the federal government relinquish all public lands to the state.
Proponents argue that this transfer will benefit Utahns, but a closer examination reveals just the opposite. If this transfer occurs, litigation and management costs are likely to prompt significant land sales, thereby privatizing untold acres now open to Utahns and all Americans. Such privatization would likely affect travel and tourism, which generate significant and growing revenue for residents throughout the state.
Recent studies showing financial benefit rely on favorable energy and commodity prices that are simply too unpredictable and volatile. Additionally, citing the benefit to schools ignores quicker, less costly and more effective steps to bolster school funding.
In short, I am convinced that there are more drawbacks than benefits to Utah's blatant federal land grab. I urge Utahns to join me in calling for a wiser approach to land management in Utah.