Utah demands Fed return public land to state - other states to followSubmitted by JO4RP on Wed, 03/28/2012 - 09:12
Utah Department of Natural Resources
Shown here is a section of the Colorado River in Utah.
Several Western states, fed up with a federal government some claim is locking down public land against oil drilling, are demanding Washington return millions of acres to state control.
The pleas mark a new front in the battle over states' rights, and one state has already codified its demand into law.
Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert, a Republican, signed a law several days ago that asks the federal government to return 20 million acres, which could be used to develop oil and other natural resources to bolster the state economy.
The state of Utah, long resentful that some 60 percent of its territory belongs to the U.S. government, says the time has come to reclaim the millions of acres it gave up more than a century ago for admission to the union.
Governor Gary Herbert signed into law on Friday a bill demanding the federal government relinquish ownership of roughly 30 million acres of public land in Utah by 2015 or face a state lawsuit challenging its continued control of that property.