Utah snatching fed land? But that's MY land.

We see that Gov. Herbert has signed the silly and potentially expensive bill to have Utah use emminent domain to take federal lands in the state. A story (click) here discusses it in someone else’s newspaper, so take it for what it’s worth.

This was another one of those idiotic message bills the Legislature passed. The idea is that Utah is owned, 2/3, by the federal government and we want some of that land so we can use it to make money for the poor suffering school children of  Utah. Notice how they always hold those kids up? Isn’t using children for political purpose child abuse?

I thought so.

Anyway, in addition to being unconstitutional and expensive to defend, this bill has two problems.

First, good luck on trying to take anything from the federal government. It was here first, it is very big, Utah is very small, and the fed has a rather large army. Gov. Herbert technically commands the Utah National Guard but his credentials as a real estate agent in his former life aren’t exactly West Point.

Just an aside: The whole “state’s rights” thing was settled by that same Army during the Civil War when another group of states, unhappy with what they saw as the federal government bossing them around, tried to tell the federal government to shove it.

Which brings us to that second point. Notice how Herbert used to be a real estate agent?

A lot of other members of our legislature — Kevin Garn anyone? — have careers either as developers or as businessmen who sell stuff to developers. They get a lot of campaign donations from contractors who build stuff for developers. And of course new development needs roads, lots of roads.

So, when these yahoos talk about taking “Our” land from the feds, they are not really taking it back to give to you and me, ordinary citizen joes of Utah. They’re talking about taking it to sell/lease/give or otherwise convey to developers just like them, if not exactly like them because it is them, good hardy Utah folk who will build stuff on it and make money for themselves.

We may make some taxes out of it, but given how often local entities use tax anticipation notes to siphon off new taxes to pay for development or induce developers to come to town, don’t bet on it.

Meanwhile, that land, right now, belongs to you and me. We own the federal government, we ARE the federal government, and the vast majority of that land managed by the BLM, the Forest Service, the Park Service and others, is ours.

And we do use it. So do others, to our benefit, sometimes in obscene ways. Did you know Snowbasin, last year, paid a pathetic $134,000 to the federal government for the use of all that public land it uses at Snowbasin? I checked and, yup, that’s it. Pretty cheap rent.

But because the land is public, you can use the mountain for free: The trails the trees, the parking lot, even. Snowbasin charges you to use its lifts and gondolas, but if you care to hike to the top, you can ski down for free.

If Utah takes that land and turns it over to Snowbasin for “proper management,” want to bet how long your free access will last?

Then there’s the whole question of Utah using eminent domain to take land just because it wants it. As I’ve said before, Utah’s Legislature doesn’t really believe in smaller government. All it believes in is a smaller FEDERAL government.

It would love to see the STATE OF UTAH’s government get a whole lot bigger, and more powerful. The legislators showed that when they tried to make miscarriages illegal, and when they’ve tried to make abortions illegal, and when they’ve tried to micromanage drinking and legislate just about every aspect of private life that just doesn’t happen to meet their moral or religious code.

And then they sit around and talk about freedom.

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9 Responses to Utah snatching fed land? But that's MY land.

  1. Mark Shenefelt says:

    Funny how these message bills all come when there’s an objectionable Left control of Congress and the presidency. Where were they with the land and gun bills when Republicans controlled everything?

    Answer: It’s all just political posturing.

  2. laytonian says:

    What comes out of a tea party? Tea pee. (With apologies to the great Roger Ebert)

    These “message bills” are merely aimed at the chosen flock, in an effort to prove who’s got the most Skousen in them.

    Meanwhile, in Michigan, other “Good Christians” were arrested for plotting to kill police officers and then place IEDs around the funeral processions.

    At which point does the madness end? Frankly, I see little difference between Hervert and the Michigan anti-patriotic militias.

    If you want to send a message, be a grown-up about it.

    Do NOT take MY lands. It’s PUBLIC lands. For a reason. It’s not public lands so Hervert’s relatives can keep people from fishing in the Provo River.

  3. Doug Gibson says:

    Charlie I’m with you on development that would involve building luxury homes or resorts or outdoor-type lodges. However, I do think that sometimes land is put off limits for areas that have energy potential or mining promise, and I think such actions contribute to movements to lessen federal control over land.

  4. Jeff Reinert says:


    This links to the website of superfund sites in Utah alone. The good majority of these sites either are/were mines or are directly related to mining (smelters, petroleum refinery/distribution, etc). If these lands were opening up for renewable energy production prospects, I may be more understanding, but personally, I see little benefit for the citizens of Utah. I don’t believe that energy potential or mining promise is enough reason to give our land rights up to private entities. I love living in Utah because of all the great outdoor recreation opportunities and the amazing landscapes, not because of cheap gas. I’ll pay more.

  5. Tom says:

    Great piece Mr. T.
    Sure hope the morals cops, led by the most moral law abiding of them all – Chief Greiner – don’t come and drag you away in the middle of the night.

  6. Innocentious says:

    It isn’t your land… That is the problem, it isn’t Utah’s land… that is the other problem. It is the Federal Governments land… Do you know how hard Utah has had to fight just to be able to WALK on this land? Seriously, you do not understand the issues here if you think it is ‘your’ land. How is land you cannot even walk on legally yours? No Horses, nothing!!!

    Here is the other interesting tid bits… Utah is not talking about the 2% of the land that actually has something important on it like Arches or Bryce Canyon or Flaming Gouge or Zions.

    it is the other 68% of Utah that we would actually like, to you know, use… Hell if the Federal Government would just allow its use they could keep it for all we care but asking nicely over the past 50 years has gone over real well…

    And Jeff… the benefit is not only for Utah but the Nation. that is the irony. Utah would get more money that it can dedicate to education, the country gets a plentiful supply of minerals ( not just coal and gas ) I mean seriously come out here and drive for 400 miles or so through… well nothing because most of Utah is desolate.

  7. Carl Kove says:

    Lets seize Hill Air Force Base. It would be so cool to have our very own military base. After all we don’t care that Utah is known for its beautiful scenery and public lands(and lately crazy drunken sexual predators legislators). Who cares that the tourist industry is one of the main attractions of Utah. Lets show those feds they can’t push us around. We have our own state legislature to do that task. Where can all who support this idea send their own funds to help pay the associated costs of this lawsuit. Why burden the taxpayers when all of the talk should result in private funding overflowing legal coffers.

  8. ctrentelman says:

    Faith that the Legislature would take revenues gleaned from lands and actually add to what they already spend on education is so touching.

    They have never done that before.

    When the state was running massive surpluses they, only grudgingly, increased funding for education a bit. When they changed the income tax so it could be used for Higher Ed as well as public ed, everyone thought that would mean more actual money for higher ed, but the Legislature simply used the tax money to take the place of funds they took away and used elsewhere. Classic bait and switch.

  9. Pingback: Utah vs. Fed « Fed Land

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