The results are in. Utah’s commissioned study of projected costs to pursue its takeover of public lands has been conducted for the past two and a half years at huge cost to Utah taxpayers. The study was initiated after private developers and oil & gas industry lobbies were able to get our state legislators to pass a resolution threatening the federal government with a lawsuit if they failed to hand over public lands in Utah to the state by this January. The American Lands Council, which was created and funded by land developers and fossil fuel industries, sponsored the work of legal revisionists to find justification for the lawsuit.
So would anyone be surprised that the study’s findings are being interpreted in such a way as to give an optimistic slant in favor of the move? If one looks carefully at the study, it is clear that red flags are everywhere. If Utah were to seize federal lands, we would lose money under most scenarios, and not only during the transition period of several years duration. It clearly shows that our state budgets would be devastated if the price of oil or gas goes down. Like now.
Fluctuations and manipulations of mineral markets are common. How dare we be so thick-headed at the state capitol? Far from supporting our public schools (as proponents claim), this illegal takeover would enrich only those private interests, while it removes from us forever the priceless natural heritage that all Americans share.
Ty Markham, PsyD
Torrey Town Council Member