Sign In:

×

Last Step!

Please enter your public display name and a secure password.

Plan to post in the forums? Change your default forum handle here!

×
×

Utah Proposes Legislation to Change Ownership of Public Lands

Utah's public lands are once again under fire. Pexels.com photo. 

A little over a week ago, Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah stood before a crowd at Utah’s conservative think tank The Sutherland Institute to propose three bills about public lands – public lands, he says, that should be open to development and managed by states.

The first is a bill that opposes the Antiquities Act of 1906, which allows the President to protect landmarks, structures, and objects of historic interest by designating them as National Monuments. Lee’s proposed legislation, The Protecting Utah’s Rural Communities Act, would require Congress and a state legislature to approve these presidential designations. In other words, a president couldn’t protect land as a National Monument on their own; they would need permission from two separate governing bodies, ones that likely have very different interests at heart.

RELATED: “As Trump Kills Bear Ears Protections, What Can We Learn?”

The second bill is one that Lee is calling the “New” Homestead Act. The original Homestead Act of 1866 allowed 270 million acres of federal lands to be privatized. Lee’s new act aims to do the same. “How many schools, hospitals, medical research centers, innovation hubs, and affordable homes could we build even on just a fraction of this land?” Lee asked the audience.

Read Senator Mike Lee’s Full Speech Transcript Here

The third bill continues off the second with one simple goal: to transfer federal lands to the states. “Our ultimate task is to restore the Founders’ vision of localism and self-government,” Lee continued.

While these bills are a ways off, they could have a real impact on outdoor recreation and ongoing conservation efforts. Even though Mike Lee didn’t get a Supreme Court nomination – he was shortlisted, but it went to District of Columbia appellate judge Brett Kavanaugh – this legislation still marks an alarming trend in our current government’s rolling back of protections on public lands. If this all seems vastly familiar with what happened a few months ago with Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, it’s because it is. Huge percentages of the land these National Monuments used to protect are now fair game to those hoping to take advantage of the resources, and if Lee’s intended legislation is any indication, it looks like this will continue with more of the West's public lands. 

RELATED: Former Grand Staircase-Escalante Confirmed To Be Mined

Play
READ THE STORY
Greenland Glacier Calves, Sends 10 Billion Tons of Ice Into Sea
Up Next News

Greenland Glacier Calves, Sends 10 Billion Tons of Ice Into Sea

Greenland Glacier Calves, Sends 10 Billion Tons of Ice Into Sea

It’s no secret that the climate is changing. Especially when you see things like the Greenland glaciers melting, a microcosm of the frightening future we're all facing. This video shows the Helheim Glacier calving in late June, sending an iceberg the size of Lower Manhattan into the sea:  For scale, the 10 billion tons of ice would be enough to supply more than six hundred 10-pound bags of ice to every person in America--a population of 325 million people--according to National

Play
READ THE STORY
Five Ten Founder Charles Cole Passes Away at 63
Up Next News

Five Ten Founder Charles Cole Passes Away at 63

Five Ten Founder Charles Cole Passes Away at 63

Five Ten Founder Charles David Cole III has passed away. The prolific climber and adventuring pioneer ushered in a new era to the world of mountain sport with his whimsical sense of humor and innovative eye for design. Cole was 63. As a climber, Cole was known for daring first ascents in Yosemite and Joshua Tree. According to Rock and Ice, his list of first ascents included Joshua Tree’s (5.10b) and (VI 5.10 A5), the solo ascent of Yosemite’s (VI 5.9 A4+), and (VI 5.10 A4+), a

Play
READ THE STORY
Timberline Lodge Purchases Summit Ski Area
Up Next News

Timberline Lodge Purchases Summit Ski Area

Timberline Lodge Purchases Summit Ski Area

The lofty idea to link together Mt. Hood’s Timberline Ski Area and the town of Government Camp came one step closer to reality with the recent acquisition of Summit Ski Area by Timberline. According to KATU news, on Tuesday the tiny ski hill was purchased by Timberline with the hopes that it can expand the accessibility of skiing and riding at the Mount Hood area. Before any addition of a gondola or tram, Timberline is focused on keeping Summit affordable and expanding its