The need for a balanced public lands policy

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  • Voice of Reason Layton, UT
    Nov. 15, 2012 8:55 a.m.

    Lagomorph - There's also nothing in federal law (i.e. the federal code) that states in general that the federal govt. won't sell property which is a regulatory level decision based on specific designations, both in DC and at the State level. And there shouldn't be any such restriction at the State level either - the real issue is whether federal land is sealed up against ANY reasonable development regardless of what Utah really needs, which is clearly the case currently. The real issue is you frankly don't share Utah values regarding the responsible stewardship of public lands; you believe the federal government does it better. A desire to have hiking trails without ATVs or visible human presence has its place, but does not - repeat, NOT - more important than real, immediate human needs.

    While I agree that Utah needs to pay our teachers more in general, Utah is not the education-hating scrooge that the left wants us to believe. Utah has the lowest per-pupil spending because we have the highest # of students per taxpayer. Our results are, in many measures, second to none, while state with the highest are often worst. Money is NOT the answer.

  • watchman Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 14, 2012 1:16 p.m.

    It is about time. After all these years of federal ownership and control it is past time that at least some of these federal lands within the boundaries of the state of Utah become useful and productive to the taxpayers of the state. This could be especially helpful for our every expanding Education budget.

    This sounds like a very common sense and moderate vehicle to bring about something that should have been done many years ago, not only with Utah, but with other western states that rightly have been promised at statehood.

  • Demo Dave Holladay, UT
    Nov. 14, 2012 12:26 p.m.

    “No one in state government would permit the degradation of Utah's wondrous beauty.” This statement is not only untrue; it is a blatant misrepresentation of the facts.

    Our legislature consists of the only people more greedy than politicians -- land speculators and developers. They care nothing about aesthetic beauty or soul-restoring serenity or our children’s wilderness heritage. They only see the highest and best use of real estate for its development potential and taxable value. The push to build luxury homes within the boundaries of Zion National is proof of this, and I could cite a dozen other examples.

    Legislators like Mike Noel don’t give a diddly dang about nature or wilderness other than its profitability as a revenue generator. And they don’t care how that revenue is generated, including “Drill, baby, drill!”

    I know how things work here. After all, I was born in Utah. But I wasn’t born yesterday.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 14, 2012 12:02 p.m.

    VOR: "HB148 states what will happen IF the State ever sells any of the lands in the future..."

    Maybe "provide" is ill chosen, but the act clearly _allows_ the sale of the lands. With Utah having among the lowest per pupil funding levels in the country, the dedication of proceeds to education provides a powerful incentive to the state to sell or exploit for maximum financial return and not for long term sustainability. There is no language in the bill stating legislative intent NOT to sell the lands. As you correctly note, the bill only sets forth broad ownership goals, but (as I noted in my original post) nowhere in the policy guidelines is there any language making preservation of pristine wild lands a priority. The goals are all about intensive management amd manipulation of landscapes. There is nothing in the law to support the Clarke's statement that "lands with similar qualities will be protected." There is no binding language mandating such protection. Her statement requires us to trust without giving opportunity to verify. Reagan wouldn't buy it.

    "...Utah values..." Please define. I hear this phrase a lot, but they rarely match mine. I live here, too.

  • guspine Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 14, 2012 10:27 a.m.

    Sorry, Kathy, I just don't trust what you say. Strip mining 11 billion tons of coal from the Kaiparowits will simply destroy some of the most beautiful land on earth, add to our pollution, turn a generation of Utah kids into miners, and leave us with nothing but a wrecked economy. Your words are simply unbelievable. When has Utah ever been trustworthy in relation to land use?

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Nov. 14, 2012 10:01 a.m.

    Nothing balanced comes from our legislature. How many times does this need to be proven?

  • Voice of Reason Layton, UT
    Nov. 14, 2012 9:54 a.m.


    Sec. 3 of HB148 states what will happen IF the State ever sells any of the lands in the future, it does NOT "provide" for the sale of lands, which is a very different thing. Incidentally, it also requires that all State-received proceeds from the sale of such lands goes to the permanent State School Fund. And frankly, it's about time that at least a little more of this land is put to good economic use that will actually benefit human beings, as opposed to being locked up forever by arrogant Sierra Club types who really don't want ANYONE to "enjoy" the land at all...except for the select lucky few allowed to hike dozens of miles in to see it, of course.

    And bills are not supposed to micromanage the actual management of land - this bill is only supposed to set forth the broad ownership goals of the State, with actual day-to-day management to be handled by the appropriate State agencies...just as land is managed at the Federal level. Only now it will more closely match Utah values and thus be managed much better overall.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 14, 2012 9:06 a.m.

    Clarke: "There is no intent to sell transferred lands. Rather, these lands will be retained in state ownership and control... The lands we all love and treasure won't be any less public when they are managed by the state."

    Then explain the provisions of Section 3 of HB148 that amends 63L-6-103(2) of the Utah Code to provide for the sale of the [formerly federal] public lands by the state, with the state retaining 5% of the net proceeds and giving 95% to the feds.

    Clarke: "Other lands with similar [park/monument/wilderness] qualities will also be protected."

    The bill provides very few management guidelines and defers most to the Constitutional Defense Council to determine later. Stated policy objectives in the bill include protecting public health and safety, preventing forest fires and insect loss, promoting mineral and energy development, range improvement/weed control. It is silent as to management of prime recreational lands other than a vague "establishing other requirements related to national forests, national recreation areas or other public lands..." There is nothing in the bill that guarantees protection of high quality lands.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Nov. 14, 2012 8:43 a.m.

    Yes, we do need a balanced land management system. But the Utah legislature -- cradle of so many wing-nut ideas -- has proven to this voter that it won't come from Utah.

  • Voice of Reason Layton, UT
    Nov. 14, 2012 8:02 a.m.

    If there's any justice at all, that one monument would be the Grand Staircase Escalante Monument. Designation of that "monument" was a huge injustice to Utah, and was a blatantly political gift to Clinton's radical envirowacko base. Governor Leavitt - the Governor of the State where this monument is located - found out about the designation from a TV newscast. That is just beyond inexcusable. And the law governing Federal Monument designations, and the relative ease with which they can be designated as compared to national parks & wilderness areas, is intended STRICTLY for actual monuments like the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore...not, repeat NOT, for enormous pieces of the southern portion of an entire state. Clinton abused his power as president in a blatant political gimme, pure and simple.

    And the sooner that monstrosity of federal tyranny is abolished the better.

  • William Gronberg Payson, UT
    Nov. 14, 2012 6:38 a.m.

    "Under HB148, all national parks, all but one national monument, and all wilderness areas will remain under federal ownership and control."

    Kathleen Clarke: Which national monument would NOT "remain under federal ownership and control"?