Utah’s Takeover of Federal Lands — Lawsuit Not in Near Future | The Salt Lake Tribune

By Dan Harrie

June 4, 2014

“The Dec. 31 deadline Utah set for the federal government to turn over millions of acres of public lands to the state will come and go with no transfer of ownership, no solid plan of action — and no lawsuit.

Assistant Utah Attorney General Tony Rampton on Tuesday told the state’s Commission on Federalism that it would be unwise to press forward with litigation, or even to push a specific proposal because there are too many unanswered questions and lots of fact-finding and coalition-building to be done.

Even Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, the main force behind Utah’s Transfer of Public Lands Act (HB148), acknowledged that the Dec. 31 deadline was more a goal than a line in the sand.”

Read full story | The Salt Lake Tribune

Kathleen Clarke Interviewed on Trib Talk: Transferring Federal Lands to Utah

If the State of Utah took ownership of federal lands, what would that look like? The state public lands director Kathleen Clarke and Tribune environment reporter Brian Maffly join Jennifer Napier-Pearce to discuss the scope and possible implications of the cost-benefit analysis report.

Original source: Trib Talk Blog | The Salt Lake Tribune

Study Underway About Transfer of Federal Lands to Utah | Deseret News

By Morgan Jacobsen

May 21, 2014

“SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah legislative interim committee met Wednesday to examine the progress of an economic analysis concerning the prospect of transferring federal lands into state ownership.

HB142, which was signed by Gov. Gary Herbert on April 1, calls for a study to inventory public lands within Utah and to analyze the opportunities and challenges that a public lands transfer would bring for agencies within the state should such a transfer occur.

Kathleen Clarke, director of the Public Lands Policy Coordination Office, discussed the ongoing analysis with members of the Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Interim Committee.”

Read full story | Deseret News

Deal Reached to Halt Endangered Listing for Utah Flowers | The Salt Lake Tribune

By Brian Maffly

May 6, 2014

“The long-awaited decision on whether to protect two rare desert flowers could hinge on a proposed deal federal authorities have reached with state and Uintah County officials.

Occurring only in the Uinta Basin, the Graham’s and White River beardtongue species of penstemon grow on oil shale outcroppings, so some fear a listing under the Endangered Species Act could stymie Utah’s nascent oil shale industry.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on Monday released a draft conservation agreement, which identifies federal and state lands where surface-disturbing activities would be severely limited. The idea is to preserve core areas and demonstrate that beardtongue does not warrant listing, according to John Harja of the state Public Lands Policy Coordination Office.

The areas “will be refuges for the plants,” he said. “We did this for the purpose of addressing the threats.””

Read full story | The Salt Lake Tribune