Utah Communities Harmed by Dependence on Federal Government | The Salt Lake Tribune

October 6, 2013

“Rural Utah’s extreme dependence on the federal government is unhealthy and unnecessary. Federally managed recreation areas, energy sites and land management offices have shuttered their doors as part of the ongoing federal government shutdown.

Earlier this year, the federal government illegally withheld or reduced community development and education payments owed to our counties. Our local towns and communities that depend on tourism, energy development and land-use are paying the price because of Washington’s dysfunction and instability.”

Continue to full story | The Salt Lake Tribune

Bishop Seeks Grand Bargain on Public Lands | The Salt Lake Tribune

By Thomas Burr | The Salt Lake Tribune

April 15, 2013

Tired of the gridlock over how to manage federal lands, Rep. Rob Bishop is attempting to bring together all sides of the issue to find common ground to either preserve or drill.

The Utah Republican is one of Congress’ top cheerleaders for oil and gas development and a dogged critic of environmentalists — but he says it’s time to tone down the rhetoric and seize on a change at the Interior Department to get beyond the bitter feud in the public-lands debate.

Bishop has invited energy companies, green groups, local officials and other interested parties to submit their plans for what they want to get done and hopes to craft legislation to bring up later this year.

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Gov. Herbert’s Summit to Explore Utah’s Energy Future | The Salt Lake Tribune

By Brian Maffly

January 7, 2013

“Hundreds of energy industry professionals, scientists and policy experts are gathering in Salt Lake City this week for Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s Energy Development Summit, an annual forum addressing some of the energy issues confronting the Intermountain West.

“This conversation will help position Utah for an exciting energy future that embraces a diversity of resources and proceeds with a dual focus on responsible practices and economic growth,” Herbert’s office said in a news release.

The summit, which opens Thursday at the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center, is an outgrowth of the governor’s 2011 strategic energy plan designed to put Utah at “the forefront of solving the world’s energy challenges.””

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Transfer of Public Lands Act – Four Myths

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Myth 1 – Utah is pressing forward with a 3 million dollar lawsuit that will take federal lands

  • The executory provisions of HB 148 are conjectural and not justiciable in court. HB 148 instructs the United States to extinguish and transfer public lands’ title to Utah by December 31, 2014. The bill does not identify the actions the State will take if the federal government refuses to transfer lands.
  • Utah seeks cooperative and constructive dialogue with the federal government on how to manage the lands.

Myth 2 – HB 148 is an irresponsible effort that will result in the destruction and despoiling of Zions and other pristine natural parks in Utah

  • HB 148 exempts all National Parks, National Monuments, and National Historic Sites managed by the National Park Service, and also congressionally designated wilderness.

Myth 3 – HB 148 is an excuse to sell lands to oil, gas, mining, and development interests

  • HB 148 includes an explicit disincentive to sell lands. If the lands were transferred to the State and the State attempted to sell parcels of land, 95% of all proceeds would be paid to the United States for debt reduction and only 5% of the proceeds would be retained by the State to fund education.

Myth 4 – This is an unprecedented attack by Utah on the federal land ownership

  • This attempt is neither entirely new nor partisan. In 1915, Republican Governor William Spry and the Utah Senate protested the federal government’s refusal to dispose of lands. In 1932, Utah Democrat Governor George Dern testified before Congress about a fair disposal of lands in Utah. In 1945, Democrat Governor Herbert Maw and the State Legislature sent a petition to Congress protesting federal land policies. In 1979, the State filed a suit against the federal government over federal land abuses. In 1980, Democrat Governor Scott Matheson signed a “Lands Reclamation Act.” Utah has sought to exert greater control over lands within its borders for over a century. The difference between this legislation and previous efforts is that it is a distinct and specific demand on the United States to honor its promise.