24 Mar 2012, 8:17am
Politics and politicians
by admin

Utah Demands Her Land Back

The Federal Government has been a terrible trustee of lands that rightfully belong to the States.

The situation has deteriorated to the point that the Feds are now mad firebombers, waging a violent war against the western states, dropping bombs on Oregon forests like we were the Taliban. It’s an undeclared war, but it’s a real war nonetheless.

One state, Utah, has had the gumption to stand up and demand her land back.

Herbert signs bill demanding feds relinquish lands in Utah
Legislation seeks state takeover of millions of acres of public lands.

By Robert Gehrke, The Salt Lake Tribune, Mar 23 2012 [here]

Gov. Gary Herbert signed legislation Friday demanding that Congress turn over roughly 30 million acres of federal land within Utah’s borders — a move that proponents acknowledge could lead to a court battle.

“It’s a difficult fight. This is the first step,” said Herbert before signing the measure, “but it’s a fight worth having.”

Supporters of the effort contend the federal government made a promise to Utah and Western states to dispose of hundreds of millions of acres of federal land, just as it had done in states east of the Rockies. …

Rep. Rob Bishop said the federal government is paying $8.6 billion a year to manage federal lands, and isn’t doing a good job of it.

“The state of Utah is willing to stand up and say to the federal government, we’re willing to take responsibility for the state of Utah,” he said. “The West is ready. It needs it. It’s now time to change the way we’ve done things traditionally … because the way we’ve done things traditionally flat-out doesn’t work.” … [more]

HB511 is entitled EMINENT DOMAIN OF FEDERAL LAND, and it “authorizes a political subdivision to exercise eminent domain authority on property possessed by the federal government unless the property was acquired by the federal government with the consent of the Legislature and in accordance with the United States Constitution Article I, Section 8, Clause 17.”

Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 is the so-called “Enclave Clause”:

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of Particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;…

The Enclave Clause limits Federal ownership of land to military bases, navy docks, and Federal buildings, as well as Washington DC. It does not authorize the Federal Government to own half the state of Utah, or of Oregon for that matter.

Article IV, Section 3 Clause 2 of the US Constitution is the so-called “Property Clause”:

The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State…

That clause has been interpreted to mean the Feds can own as much as they want of western states, and firebomb those lands with impunity. But western states have argued that the “equal footing doctrine” requires Congress to recognize western states’ sovereignty over public lands, because the Original Thirteen States don’t have Fed land claims and aren’t subject to vicious and stupid firebombing of their forests by Federal functionaries.

For more discussion of the legal technicalities, see the Family Guardian website [here].



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