Legislative Summit on Transfer of Public Lands

By Kristen Moulton

April 20, 2014

“It’s time for Western states to take control of federal lands within their borders, lawmakers and county commissioners from Western states said at Utah’s Capitol on Friday.

More than 50 political leaders from nine states convened for the first time to talk about their joint goal: wresting control of oil-, timber -and mineral-rich lands away from the feds.”

Read full story | The Salt Lake Tribune

Governors, Counties Asking for Full Support of PILT Program

The Western Governors’ Association and the National Association of Counties sent a joint letter to the leadership of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees requesting full support of the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program.

PILT has been compensating counties with large tracts of nontaxable federal lands for many years. The two-year budget deal the Congress passed this week authorized PILT extension but left it up to the appropriators to decide whether the program continues.

The letter emphasized the economic hardship to the states and counties in the absence of PILT funds urging the federal government to honor its historic PILT agreement.

“Counties with federal land in their jurisdictions often provide vital services on those lands, such as solid waste management, search and rescue, and emergency medical services. The federal government must honor its historic PILT agreement with states and counties to compensate them for tax-exempt federal lands within their borders. . . . We urge you to consider the economic hardship that states and counties across the nation will face if the PILT program is not given consistent funding.”

~ December 20, 2013 Western Governors’ Association PILT Letter


Read full text of the letter or visit https://www.westgov.org.

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.

Read full story | The Salt Lake Tribune