Andy Kerr

Conservationist, Writer, Analyst, Operative, Agitator, Strategist, Tactitian, Schmoozer, Raconteur

State Lands

The Elliott State Forest Will Not Be Privatized—But Will It Be Saved?

The Elliott State Forest Will Not Be Privatized—But Will It Be Saved?

The existential crisis for public lands conservationists has passed, but the Elliott State Forest is not yet fully in the hands of conservation. It all depends on where the lands end up and the purposes for which they are bought out of the Common School Fund. Perhaps in a later blog post I will explore the strengths and weaknesses of each of the three approaches and offer up what I think is the best solution.

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Statehood and Federal Public Lands: A Deal is a Deal

In 2012, the Utah State Legislature enacted the Transfer of Public Lands Act (TPLA), which demanded that the federal government hand over the state’s ~30 million acres of national wildlife refuges, national forests, and other public lands by the end of 2014.

This did not happen, but Utah is still trying. It seeks to set up a legal test case, and the legislature has appropriated $4.5 million of the $14 million it will likely cost to do so. In 2010, Utah considered trying to use its power of eminent domain to seize the federal land. When it realized that it would have to pay real money for the land it condemned—and perhaps also remembering that the federal government has all the nuclear weapons—Utah decided to seek a judicial ruling instead.

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