In three weeks, Utah intends to seize control of 31.2 million acres of its own land now under the control of the federal government. At least, that’s the plan.
In an unprecedented challenge to federal dominance of Western state lands, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert in 2012 signed the “Transfer of Public Lands Act,” which demands that Washington relinquish its hold on the land, which represents more than half of the state’s 54.3 million acres, by Dec. 31.
So far, however, the federal government hasn’t given any indication that it plans to cooperate. Still, state Rep. Ken Ivory, who sponsored the legislation, isn’t deterred.
“That’s what you do any time you’re negotiating with a partner. You set a date,” said Mr. Ivory. “Unfortunately, our federal partner has decided they don’t want to negotiate in good faith. So we’ll move forward with the four-step plan that the governor laid out.”
In other words, there won’t be any escorting of federal officials by state troopers to the eastern border. Instead, he said, state officials will proceed with a program of education, negotiation, legislation and litigation.