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"It’s in [SITLA’s] best interest because it will maintain public support for the trust. For the 11 years I was there a governor never had to second-guess a decision because we were careful to balance things."
Working behind the scenes last week, Gov. Gary Herbert and Rep. Rob Bishop persuaded SITLA to postpone leasing the southern Books. They argued such a move is in the school trust’s long-term interests because it would enable opportunities to consolidate SITLA holdings, which are typically scattered around the state in isolated 640-acre blocks.
For his part, the governor is withholding judgment on SITLA reform to see how the Book Cliffs deal is implemented.
"I think it unwise in the heat of this kind of conversation to call for anything. Let’s go through the process, see what happens, then when everybody’s kind of cool and calm, then take a look at it and say, ‘Have we got what we want to have there?’ " Herbert said. "If we do, then fine. If we don’t, then maybe we’ll call for some changes, but that’s weeks down the road before I would feel comfortable doing that."
Matt Canham contributed to this report.
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