The assistant attorney general reviewing whether Utah should sue the feds in a bid to control millions of acres of public lands believes all of the discussion and debate championed by conservative Rep. Ken Ivory has turned the issue from a joke into a legitimate movement.
During a discussion before the Commission on Federalism on Tuesday, assistant a.g. Tony Rampton dropped Democrat Pat Shea's name as evidence the land-transfer effort is picking up steam, though a lawsuit may not be the way to go.
"Pat Shea is a very dear friend of mine, we grew up together," Rampton said. "Anybody who knows Pat, the former director of the BLM, knows that he's an Irishman with a short fuse. I've been in several meetings with Pat where he simply stands up and basically says 'You guys are nuts. This is ridiculous.' I happened to hear the debate that took place at the public library a couple of weeks ago [with Shea and Ivory on opposite sides] and Pat Shea stood up and said, 'Wait a minute. This is not the way to go about it, you don't do this in one fell swoop. What you do is start talking and negotiate something that makes sense for everyone.' "Bingo! If we can turn around Pat Shea, we've got a shot."
Ivory, a member of the commission, joined in the chuckling that followed.
— Dan Harrie