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Federal land costly

Published August 24, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Did you know the State of Utah has sued the federal government in order to take ownership of 30 million acres of Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service land?

The state would like to have local control, but the state's own legal counsel declared the land-transfer law has "a high probability of being declared unconstitutional." Talk about frivolous lawsuits!

Four academics are studying the economic impact of this transfer. It will be difficult for them to assemble data because federal agencies do not keep track of their income or expenditures state by state. Michigan and Florida taxpayers support federal lands in Utah.

So far no one is talking about how much Utah taxpayers would have to pay to support 30 million acres of federal land. Do you think that coal, oil and gas, oil shale and tar sands revenue could make up the difference?

The Legislature has also slashed support of the 43 state parks in the past three years! The state cannot afford the estimated $50 million of maintenance and capital costs state parks need.

I wonder how much support the Legislature would provide for an additional 30 million acres of federal lands. Utah ownership of federal lands is a bad idea.

Rick Ernst

Park City