New Utah Law OKs State Seizure of Federal Lands; Aim Is Supreme Court Showdown
Posted Mar 29, 2010 10:51 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has signed two bills into law authorizing the state to seize federal lands using its powers of eminent domain.
The goal, supporters say, is to win a U.S. Supreme Court showdown, the Associated Press reports. More than 60 percent of Utah land is owned by the federal government. Lawmakers say the property could be used for economic development, generating tax revenue that could help fund schools.
Lawyers for lawmakers say the measure has little chance of surviving a court challenge, AP says. But Rep. Bill Wright told the Salt Lake Tribune last month that he doesn’t see a downside. "There's a whole generation of people who seem satisfied taking the crumbs they've given us," he said of the federal government. "What's the real downside? If we don't win, they'll continue what they're doing now?"