Utah to challenge federal ownership of 60% of their land.
"In a modern David and Goliath battle, Utah Representative Christopher Herrod has introduced HB143 which, if enacted, would authorize the state to use eminent domain to take land from the federal government. About 60 percent of the state is owned by the federal government."
Utah to Challenge Federal Land Ownership
By Henry Lamb
February 22, 2010
"Herrod, and his backers, hope to inspire other western states to join their effort to force the Supreme Court to hear their arguments. The federal government owns most of the land in all western states."
"...If federal lands were returned to the states, massive downsizing of the federal government would follow. If there were no other reason to return the land to the states, the downsizing of government should be sufficient justification."
"There are other reasons. Good reasons. Western states were admitted into the union on a so-called "equal footing" status. How can Utah, with the federal government owning 60 percent of the land, be considered equal to any state east of the Mississippi, where the percentage of land owned by the federal government is minimal. (see graph map here or detailed gov't maps here)
Environmentalists and socialists are quick to claim that federal lands are "public" lands, which belong to all people. Except for public parks authorized by elected representatives of the people, there is absolutely no justification for government to own any lands, aside from the lands authorized by Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 of the U.S. Constitution."
"Were the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the Utah initiative, the federal government could shed enormous expense and reduce the size of government. State governments would have enormous resources to convert to revenue to fund budget deficits and provide tax relief for private citizens and small businesses."
"The people would reap an additional benefit because states are far better stewards of the land within their borders than the federal government could ever be. The people who live in Utah know Utah far better than bureaucrats in Washington. The people who live in Utah are entitled to their own land and resources, just as the people of New Jersey are entitled to theirs. Perhaps Utah's initiative will be the stone that will knock some sense into the federal Goliath."
Henry Lamb is the author of "The Rise of Global Governance," Chairman of Sovereignty International , and founder of the Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO) and Freedom21, Inc..