Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Utah bills keep pushing federal land transfer

A Senate panel on Monday advanced a joint resolution that presses the Utah governor and congressional delegation "to exert their utmost abilities" to convince the federal government to hand over 30 million acres of public lands to the state. SJR13 seeks to speed the implementation of last year’s Transfer of Public Lands Act, which envisions the state acquiring most of the federal land within its borders by the end of next year. But even its backers concede this might take a legal battle, but one they say is worth fighting, especially if other Western states join the struggle to "take back" public lands. "This action, if taken by the federal government, will allow Utah to provide for the education of its children, grow its economy and job opportunities, and provide for responsible management of the state’s abundant natural resources while preserving the important historic and cultural contributions that Utah’s public lands provide the citizens of Utah, the nation, and the world," the resolution claims. "This is something Utah has been asking for nicely for decades. It’s time to demand. Other states are standing with us," said Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan,addressing another land-transfer bill on Friday. Awaiting action on the House floor is HB142, which would authorize the Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office to further study how best to accomplish the transfer. This effort will cost up to $450,000, according to a fiscal note...more

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