Thursday, March 10, 2011

Editorial: Utah strikes back

Some of Utah's leaders say they are trying to fight federal encroachment on state authority. They need to back up their talk with action. Gov. Gary Herbert last week said that the creation of more "wild lands" by the feds could cost the Beehive State billions and undermine the region's economy. He spoke in Washington before the House Natural Resources Committee. The governor blasted recent Interior Department moves that allow land managers to add more protection to public land with wilderness characteristics. "By bureaucratic fiat, one branch of the government has overstepped and overreached and has devalued the rights of the states and citizens," Herbert said. He noted a major effect: the loss of funding for the state's Permanent School Fund that would be available from mineral extraction across the state. Trust land monies are dedicated to education. Add in the loss of investments by oil and gas companies, the loss of jobs in drilling, and the loss of income to other businesses and governmental bodies, and Utah could lose a huge amount of money over the years because of federal grabs. Meanwhile, back in Salt Lake, the legislature also sent a message. The Utah House passed a measure calling on Congress to cede to the state full control of Utah lands now run by the federal Bureau of Land Management. House Joint Resolution 39 was approved 61-9. It asserts that Utah should regain control because U.S. officials have mismanaged the land, and because the law that made Utah a state committed Washington to selling that land to private owners, just as it was required to sell off it lands in older states farther east...more

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