PLPCO Releases Report and Study on Transfer of Public Lands

Transfer of Public Lands ReportDecember 1, 2014

In 2012, Utah Legislature passed the Transfer of Public Lands Act—legislation requiring the federal government to transfer of approximately 31.2 million acres of federally owned and managed public lands to the State of Utah.

This legislation required examination of current federal management of public lands, budgets, and economic impacts from potential transfer. In 2013, legislators tasked PLPCO to direct the study and analysis of economic impacts and consequences of a transfer.

PLPCO put together a team of economists from University of Utah, Utah State University, and Weber State University to conduct the analysis and prepare a study. The study, “An Analysis of a Transfer of Federal Lands to the State of Utah,” examines the economic feasibility of the proposed lands transfer. It is an optimistic, yet cautionary, analysis of the opportunities and challenges involved in a potential public lands transfer.

This type of economic analysis has never before been performed. It is an objective study remarkable for its depth and detailed findings that will be of lasting interest to the western states. PLPCO has prepared a summary of the study, “Pathway to Balanced Public Lands Policy,” highlighting the key findings.

For additional information on the Transfer of Public Lands Act and study click here.

Also see press release on the Governor’s webpage.

Officials say Economic Outlook Good for Public Lands Transfer

November 19, 2014

By Brian Maffly

“The costs of transferring 30 million acres of public lands to Utah pencil out for the state, according to a team of economists.

But state officials are not quite ready to release the 800-page study that backs up those findings.

State lawmakers pushing the idea — and the public — will have to wait a little while longer to see the proof, officials told an interim legislative panel Wednesday.

The Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office intends to complete an “analytical summary” of the long-anticipated report, freshly completed by economists at three Utah universities after more that a year of data gathering and number crunching, office director Kathleen Clarke told lawmakers.

The economists said Utah could manage federal public lands to harvest oil and gas and timber while providing outdoor recreation and preserving ‘unique landscapes and ecosystems.’ “

Read full story | Salt Lake Tribune

Utah Wildlife Officials, Bishop Bemoan Federal Action on Gunnison Sage Grouse | Deseret News

November 12, 2014

“A decision Wednesday to list the Gunnison sage grouse as threatened under the Endangered Species Act will ultimately hurt the bird more than it will help it, undercutting local efforts to protect the species and instilling tedious layers of government bureaucracy to overcome.

That sentiment, voiced by Utah wildlife officials and echoed by members of the state’s congressional delegation, came in swift reaction to the announcement by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that the bird is receiving a designation as “threatened” under the federal act.”

Read full story | Deseret News