Utah has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, and it’s also rich with natural resources such as minerals, oil, gas and coal. The potential for economic development and continued economic vitality is huge. Unfortunately, we cannot access many of these resources because Utah doesn’t own most of its land.
Believe it or not, the federal government owns and controls more than 65 percent of Utah’s land, the third highest proportion among the 50 states.
Believe it or not, the federal government owns and controls more than 65% percent of Utah’s land, the third highest proportion among the 50 states.
This means we have fewer jobs and less state tax revenue that could be used to fund public schools. It also means fewer opportunities for recreation on Utah’s scenic lands. Certainly, we need to balance the use of our land with the need to preserve and protect it, but Utah can do that well as, if not better than, the feds.
HARD WORK: As a state, it is important to stand together with our Federal elected officials as well as any other state whose land uses are tied up with the federal government restriction. We should continue all avenues to take back our lands.
CITIZEN INVOLVEMENT: This is an important discussion that will take continued emphasis and support of our citizenry to support their elected officials to speak by policy and work legally in order to get the desired results. We must stay consistent in the long term as we try to assert our rights as a state.
REAL SOLUTIONS: I believe the best way for Utah to reclaim its lands is to seek a Declaratory Judgement that would require the federal government to fulfill its contractual obligation entered into in the Utah Enabling Act of 1894. This is the pattern followed when Hawaii successfully sought to reclaim its federal lands in 1979. I will work to encourage following through with this legislation.