Utah Legislature: Lawmakers take states' rights fight to public lands

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  • Utahn Expatriate
    Feb. 13, 2010 8:54 a.m.

    The Constitution is clear what property Washington can own: "To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;" You can stretch "buildings" into rather larger parcels of land for military purposes (forts were training centers, after all), but it's a bit difficult to see how BLM lands fit the description. And just how much did Washington pay Utah for all that public land, anyway?

  • natalie
    Feb. 11, 2010 5:26 p.m.

    If the legislature wants this fight, find a better way to pay for it. The money that they are proposing is required to be held in trust for public education. This is an unwinnable fight, and it is ridiculous to ask the schools to pay for it. Make your point with your own money. Or, better yet, see if you can find someone to take the case on a contingency basis - pay up from the proceeds when they win. But leave the school trust fund money alone.

  • Jay
    Feb. 11, 2010 3:41 p.m.

    This is a public health concern. The State legislator only wants control of these parcells for reasons that, to me, are unethical. The Salt Lake City metro region, including Ogden and Provo, had the worst air quality in the nation durring our last inversion. The majority of pollutants in the air came from oil run automobiles. Utah's industrial and mining past has also exposed the Great Salt Lake to mercury pollution. Coal-burning power plants, however, are the largest human-caused source of mercury pollution in the world and continue to spread mercury through the atmosphere.
    Mercury collects in water, plants and animals. The National Research Council estimated more than 60,000 children each year are at risk for neurological problems due to in utero exposure to methylmercury. Allowing these lands to be "developed," or in other words mined, will only exasperate the problem and put the general public at even greater risk.
    Perhaps it is our State Legislators who need to be educated.

  • @nick | 10:28 a.m.
    Feb. 11, 2010 2:12 p.m.

    No these problems were created when the state was accepted into the united states. They were required to give up control as a part of statehood. The feds exercise eminent domain all the time. The suggestion is for three parcels of land.

  • Go For It!
    Feb. 11, 2010 1:28 p.m.

    Let's spend every last dime we have as a state to fight the federal government. Let's double-dog-dare them to fight back. After all, we have more and better lawyers than the Federal Government. We have more money to spend on this - in fact, we have an unlimited supply of money, so we will be able to take this way past the Supreme Court - we'll take it straight to ... well, someone.

    While we're taking back our land that God, Himself, gave to use, let's take back Hill AFB, TAD, and the test range, as well. Let's take back the parks, the forests, and the wide open lands mismanaged by BLM. Let's kick those Utes, Navajos, and Goshutes off our land, too - give them the Nevada Test Site as a "permanent" home.

    And let's not pay federal taxes, either. After all, we'll need that money - to pay the court costs and lawyers, and to replace some of the federal money that we won't get any more - from federal highway funding to water development, etc.

    What a totally stupid idea. It's like Chris Buttars is running the legislature.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 11, 2010 12:41 p.m.

    Utahns were against Canyonlands National Park in 1962. The mining industry give us the billion dollar bill to clean up the Atlas Mine. The national parks created in Utah despite Utahns resistance, have brought in more money than mining has.

  • cachesoul
    Feb. 11, 2010 12:18 p.m.

    funny how they invoke states rights only when they want to limit someones freedoms or mess up the public lands and the air we breath.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 11, 2010 11:40 a.m.

    This is going too far! Our public lands are valuable to the citizens of Utah and the nation and should not be taken by the State to sell off to the rich. Public lands are important to the lifestyles of many urban and rural communities because they provide grazing, recreation, and natural resources. I love public lands. I already do not like the SITLA selling all the state lands! I shook my head when our legislature banned the wolves, I rolled my eyes when they passed a bill making global warming illegal, I got irritated when they proposed to opt out of any health care reform, now I am angry over this bill. Some of these measures will cost the state millions of dollars to fight and the State will likely lose. When the State is facing huge budget deficits, furloughing and cutting retirement benefits for employees, cutting funding for schools and higher education, and cutting important programs, it should not be spending money on frivolous lawsuits just to make a point. I have been a Republican sympathizer up to this point, but from here on out, I will be punching the straight Democrat ticket!

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 11, 2010 11:04 a.m.

    Thou shalt not steal! The public lands are a birth right belonging to all Americans. I resent thieves hiding behind our constitution to steal from me.

  • John
    Feb. 11, 2010 10:36 a.m.

    Very good move !
    State's rights must be discused now more than ever.
    The Fed has grown way to powerful.

  • nick
    Feb. 11, 2010 10:28 a.m.

    weren't all these land deals made under a republican state and federal legislatures ?

  • Dave
    Feb. 11, 2010 7:42 a.m.

    A good idea.

  • ridiculous
    Feb. 11, 2010 7:34 a.m.

    How much money is going to be wasted in the name of fighting for states rights? Does anyone remember that issue was the true cause of the civil war? "supreme court" is right, save the Utah tax payers money and spend it on our childrens' education.

  • Sarcasm alert.
    Feb. 11, 2010 6:41 a.m.

    Great! Can't wait for the Zion park gated luxury home enclave with Jack Nicklaus golf course and the Bryce Canyon private spa resort! Or the Arches/ Canyonlands Ivory Homes MasterPlanned Community! Push a little harder and maybe Mike Noel can get that set of uranium mines in the Grand Canyon he's been dreaming about to fuel his federal-regulation-free Green River Nuclear Power Plant!

  • Justme
    Feb. 11, 2010 1:39 a.m.

    Better late than never! But, why stop at just a few parcels? The state's need ALL the land back, from border to border to the core of the earth, including all minerals & water. National Parks should become State Parks.
    America's strength lies in the Peoples ability to own land...free from Property Tax.

  • Supreme Court
    Feb. 10, 2010 8:26 p.m.

    will not hear your case. Wouldn't the money you'll waste in this battle better be spent in the classroom?