Sen. Mike Lee: This bill is not the right move for Utah lands

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  • BDUTAH ,
    Feb. 17, 2019 1:40 p.m.

    I support you Senator Lee, you have Utah in mind. I want Utah to have the say on our lands, not the federal government.

  • Freiheit Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 13, 2019 2:56 p.m.

    SoonerCouger and Red Smith could use a refresher course in US land policies. I suggest they start about 1785 and review the various congressional acts relating to land ownership. It would probably come as a huge surprise that their assumptions are only about 180° off what actually happened.

  • Gpagentry Orem, UT
    Feb. 13, 2019 2:31 p.m.

    Thank you, Senator Lee for looking out for our state's REAL interests.

  • SoonerCougar ,
    Feb. 13, 2019 10:37 a.m.

    I'm glad that Senator Lee is standing for the rights of the Citizens of Utah. I hope Senator Romney will do the same. We should go back to the founding idea's of the Nation and forbid the government from owning land. Any step in that direction is a good one.

  • BlueHusky Saratoga Springs, UT
    Feb. 13, 2019 9:39 a.m.

    A lot of silly comments here. I'm new to Utah. I CHOSE to move here because of the scenic beauty of a (relatively) unspoiled state. I enjoy the skiing, and the parks.

    A huge portion of Idaho (the Wilderness Area) is preserved and left wild. Utah's scenic treasures are more exposed. Preservation is necessary. I say preservation, not development. Dirt bikes, Jeeps, etc. are fun, and I love my Jeep, but we can set land aside for Jeeps and bikes.

    I'm sorry, Mike, I just don't agree with your pillaging point of view. Once we've destroyed a special locale, it is destroyed. It is gone. We'e better than this.

  • Red Smith , 00
    Feb. 13, 2019 5:06 a.m.

    Each 50 states should be equal in federal land ownership on a percentage basis.

    New Jersey has 3% federal lands. Utah has 69% federal lands. The issue is inequality among the states.

    The old states don't treat the young states equally. That's the problem. We need federal laws making federal ownership of land equal pro rata amount all states. That's the American way.

  • AlanSutton Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 12, 2019 3:30 p.m.

    Someone wrote, "It [federal land] belongs to the United States government and by extension the American people." That's where the disconnect occurs: "by extension the American people".

    Has anyone here ever dealt with federal bureaucrats on the use of federal land? They don't manage the land for the American people; they manage it like the King's huntsmen, with no thought for anyone but him. The trouble is, in this country we have no king. But that doesn't stop them from managing the land as if we did.

  • SAS Sandy, UT
    Feb. 12, 2019 1:40 p.m.


    "I intend to ride my ATV over every inch of this state that doesn't have a structure on it or is covered by water. I've already covered a lot, but I'm getting ready to do a LOT more this year."

    Does that include private property? Does that include your neighbor's front yard?

    Remind me again how conservatives are out to protect people's private property rights......?

  • jefebarnes Draper, UT
    Feb. 12, 2019 9:29 a.m.

    I really enjoy trail riding on my razor & my mountain bike in these areas. I am afraid that if they restrict these areas, like bear ears, only a few thousand people will ever go here, vs. opening these areas to the public for recreational activities. Rarely have I seen people damage these areas, and both people and animals can co-exist and enjoy being outdoors!

  • Thomas Jefferson Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 12, 2019 8:55 a.m.

    "The founding fathers of our country EXPRESSLY stated that government should NOT own the land."
    No, very clearly they did not say that. It doensnt matter how many times you say it will not make it true. You and the Bundys can make all the claims you want but you will still be wrong.

  • Freiheit Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 12, 2019 6:30 a.m.

    water rocket: " The founding fathers of our country EXPRESSLY stated that government should NOT own the land." Just where did you get that? Citation please.

  • SAS Sandy, UT
    Feb. 12, 2019 12:18 a.m.

    Okay, Senator Lee, I'll bite. What work did you do to shape this bill as it advanced to the Senate Floor? What amendments did you offer to represent Utah's interests (as you see them)?

    What work have you done on this issue, besides taking your ball and going home?

    Your constituents are curious.

  • Sharkey Layton, UT
    Feb. 11, 2019 7:05 p.m.

    There are National Parks in the original 13 states. They are not the size of Western parks but they exist.

    Please provide a citation for the claim that the proposed law has any influence on the issue of radioactive waste storage.

    Although Lee specifically denies it, it sounds like he's making perfect the enemy of good to me.

  • water rocket , 00
    Feb. 11, 2019 4:16 p.m.

    To Thomas Jefferson, you say "These are not now nor have they ever been 'Utah lands'. The land we are talking about belong to the American people. The Utah constitution expressly forbids Utah from ever making claims to these lands." For someone with your post name perhaps a refresher course on history is in order. The founding fathers of our country EXPRESSLY stated that government should NOT own the land. Fast forward to when the west was being settled and we see how the federal government changed the rules and TOOK ownership as a precondition to statehood (whereas eastern states had no such requirement). Today we have seen blatant disregard for the public and forced changes in land use by (mostly) Democratic administration edicts, prompted by one activist interest (so called environmentalists) who have stated that had they been here before the pioneers, Utah would not have been allowed to be settled at all. I believe that all we want is to be treated as an EQUAL partner state in this great nation. By the way, the feds are still trying to force us to accept nuclear waste from those states that are not "public land states". What is fair for one should be fair for all.

  • nonceleb Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 11, 2019 1:02 p.m.

    Please. Would Lee, Bishop, Hatch (in the past) quit calling it a "land grab." It is a misnomer. Land that already belongs to the federal government cannot be stolen by the federal government. You cannot steal land that already belongs to you. It belongs to the United States government and by extension the American people. The land can just have different statuses - BLM, national forest, national wildlife refuges, national recreation areas, national historic sites, national monuments, national parks, etc. Changing that status under the Antiquities Act is not, I repeat not, a land grab. It did not belong to Utah or its citizens as private property in the first place.

  • imsmarterthanyou Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 11, 2019 12:50 p.m.

    Excellent job Senator, I am against any law that limits my use of the land. I intend to ride my ATV over every inch of this state that doesn't have a structure on it or is covered by water. I've already covered a lot, but I'm getting ready to do a LOT more this year.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Feb. 11, 2019 12:44 p.m.

    Utah forever ceded it's rights to Federal lands when it became a State and signed the enabling act. But, as we all know, most Utah politician's words don't stand for much. It's not just Lee. Utah's GOP leaders have been trying for decades, and will for decades longer, to steal public lands, not just from Utahn's, but all Americans. We know Lee doesn't care much for contracts, like his mortgage, but to allow him to work on laws that effect all of our lands is not very smart. We all know how the story ends.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Feb. 11, 2019 12:32 p.m.

    Re: "Why give more land to oil and gas to just sit on, not producing anything. Why do we have welfare ranchers?"

    It's exactly this kind of elitist blather that is used to suggest that only hands-off "King's Forests" are properly "protected."

    The fact that oil and gas leases produce nothing today in no way affects the other multiple uses of public lands. Rather, it provides need income to Federal landlords that could enable other important public uses of the lands.

    "Welfare ranchers?" Just remember that foolish epithet, whenever you bite into a filet served at your black-tie dinners for moneyed donors. If you'd like to see what life's really like for "welfare ranchers," I invite you to join me on a "quick" tour of Western Utah/Eastern Nevada ranches. Quick's a relative term, it takes 4-5 hours, on mostly dirt roads, to travel the 90 miles from East Bench mansions.

    You'll quickly appreciate that "welfare ranchers" earn every nickel -- and then some -- they can grub out of some of the least productive ranch land in the Nation. If they had to pay TX grazing fees, not even you could afford a filet.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 11, 2019 12:11 p.m.

    Senator Lee's thoughtful analysis is spot on.
    I hope that he can convince his good friend from Massachusetts occupying Utah's other senate seat to go along with him.

  • dulce et decorum est , 00
    Feb. 11, 2019 11:58 a.m.

    Senator Lee has gone above and beyond his harmful humble beginnings as a lawyer for Energy Solutions to a truly deleterious influence on public policy for public lands. Senator Lee’s relationship to the land seems always to be informed by how the land might benefit him either financially or politically. He is not a source to which I would give any credence when it comes to stewardship of our public lands.

  • Prometheus Platypus Orem, UT
    Feb. 11, 2019 11:49 a.m.

    An Associated Press computer analysis of Bureau of Land Management records found that:

    80 percent of federal lands leased for oil and gas production in Wyoming are producing no oil or gas.

    83 percent of the leased acres in Montana, are producing no oil or gas.

    77 percent in Utah, are producing no oil or gas.

    71 percent in Colorado, are producing no oil or gas.

    99 percent in Nevada, are producing no oil or gas.

    Why give more land to oil and gas to just sit on, not producing anything.

    Why do we have welfare ranchers? In places like Texas where there is very little federal land the ranchers have to own the land or lease it from the owners for considerably more that $1.50 a head per month, how is that fair market if Utah supplements their ranchers?

    It creates entitlement for some like the Bundy's who mistakenly believed that they are entitled top public lands, cause, they've alway used it without proper compensation.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Feb. 11, 2019 11:21 a.m.

    Re: "The principle of multiple use carries with it responsibility."

    Yeah -- prime among them is the responsibility of Feds to actually permit reasonable multiple use. Unless use includes reasonable agricultural, recreational, minerals extraction, and energy production uses -- it's NOT multiple use.

    For too long, local BLM administration has been stymied at every turn by absentee Washington landlords, intent on creating a "King's Forest" rendered unavailable to the very people that have for generations preserved public lands so well that environmental extremists now consider them worth "preserving."

    Suggesting that only distant, uninformed bureaucrats have the expertise and integrity to make critical land-use decisions, with no reasonable consideration of the needs and desires of those depending on and living closest to the land is callous elitism, pure and simple.

    The very kind of callous elitism, in fact, that America voted against in the last presidential election, and will likely continue to vote against in the foreseeable future.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 11, 2019 10:37 a.m.

    Sen. Lee: "Citizens must go to the federal government, hat in hand, to ask permission for any use of the land at all — whether to dig a well, build a road, bury a cable or do virtually anything on it."

    Well, I should hope so. Is the senator suggesting it is preferable to allow unfettered access to public lands to do any sort of activity, regardless of the damage? The principle of multiple use carries with it responsibility. Federal land managers have to manage public lands in a sustainable way that ensures resources are available for future generations (stewardship). Responsible land management means that potentially destructive activities like road building and pipelines need to be evaluated and authorized before they begin. If Sen. Lee wants to call that begging for permission, then fine, but it is no different than any private landowner would require. The Statue of Liberty is on public land. I think I 'll start a copper salvage and recycling operation on Liberty Island. I have the senator's blessing to proceed without consulting the National Park Service for approval.

  • Reason?? Farr West, UT
    Feb. 11, 2019 10:20 a.m.

    Grateful for Mike Lee's thoughtful response to this issue. Mike continues to demonstrate his integrity to correct principals and reasonable approach to difficult issues. Clearly a blessing to the state and a true conservative voice in the nation's capital. Hoping that our junior senator will follow Mike's lead.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Feb. 11, 2019 9:21 a.m.

    Senator Lee is no friend of the term PUBLIC when it comes to discussions of land. Public lands are America's best idea.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Feb. 11, 2019 9:07 a.m.

    If Lee is against it, I am for it. Mike Lee is the worst electoral mistake Utah ever made.

  • patrioticAMERICAN South Jordan, UT
    Feb. 11, 2019 8:51 a.m.

    Lee expects us to believe he now suddenly cares abt "what's best for Utah after he voted for the tax scam bill and voted to confirm Kavanaugh. Don't make me laugh!

  • Sharkey Layton, UT
    Feb. 11, 2019 8:44 a.m.

    Goblin Valley is an example of a state-run park and it has severely deteriorated during my lifetime. The goblin toppler was never the big problem - it was the zero oversight that allowed 120 lb boy scouts to jump on the formations for years and years. Sandstone is soft rock. I don't see many ATV trails on fed land, either.

    People are the problem. It doesn't matter if they are nice LDS boy scouts or Japanese tourists. The feds have done a better job than the state, IMHO.

    I have no qualms about shooting and hunting, except that nobody else can do anything when hundreds of people are out with guns. It is not safe. It's a problem to always consider the hunters first.

    The reality is that Utah is urban and the laws for an urban area simply have to be different than in small towns.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Feb. 11, 2019 8:15 a.m.

    Why does lee think ranchers should have automatic access to public lands?

    Do they own it outright? Nope. So it seems they need to either buy the land or move to where they can buy land.

  • Thomas Jefferson Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 11, 2019 8:11 a.m.

    These are not now nor have they ever been 'Utah lands'.
    The land we are talking about belong to the American people. The Utah constitution expressly forbids Utah from ever making claims to these lands.

  • Weston Jurney West Jordan, UT
    Feb. 11, 2019 8:08 a.m.

    Yeah! We're the only ones who get to grab land. After all, we live near it, and we want it. That makes it ours!