Protect Utah Public Lands from Privitization

Utah

Target: President of the Utah State Senate Michael Waddoups

Goal: To prevent the attempted land grab of over 30 million acres by the Governor of Utah.

Throughout the course of this year a bold and unprecedented threat to public land has been made by Utah Governor Gary Herbert. This attempt has involved suing the United States more than twenty times in an attempt to seize control of more than 10,000 separate stretches of land within the state of Utah. These claims comprise a vast array of terrain from roads and wilderness areas, to even stretches of land that are currently part of the National Park system.

Given the lack of prior precedent, this litigation is guaranteed to be long and expensive, wasting state and federal funds that could be far better applied elsewhere. A recent claim made in Canyonlands National Park ended up costing the state and San Juan County over one million dollars with nothing ultimately changing. That was for a single claim; Utah’s governor is now attempting roughly 12,000 of these claims at once.

Among the many regions being impacted by this are several thousand claims attempting to slice through lands that have been proposed for wilderness designation in America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act. This plays as a preemptive means with which to remove that land from consideration, or control just how that land will be accessed upon the passage of the act.

This cannot be allowed to happen. Not only will the litigation be a costly drain, but the land rightfully deserves to remain public and not state-owned. Important landmarks such as the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument deserve to be fostered under the protection of the federal government, not handed over to state and local authorities that may seek to increase revenue by privatizing such areas.

The blatant land grab by Governor Herbert must be stopped now, before it drags the state of Utah and the United States Government through an expensive and lengthy legal battle that harms both parties.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Senator Waddoups,

Utah has become a state known for its rugged natural beauty. With several parks and monuments highlighting its environmental splendor, efforts made to protect these lands are truly laudable.

Unfortunately, the contentious litigation presented by Governor Gary Herbert in his attempt to sue the United States more than twenty times as a means to seize control of more than 10,000 separate stretches of land within the state of Utah undermines this history of protection. These claims extend to a vast array of terrain from roads and wilderness areas to even stretches of land that are currently part of the National Park system. They are at present public and should remain just that, public land.

The lack of prior precedent for this sort of litigation virtually guarantees the process to be long and expensive, wasting state and federal dollars that could be far better applied elsewhere. A recent claim made in Canyonlands National Park ended up costing the state and San Juan County over one million dollars with nothing gained in the end. That was for a single claim, now picture the drain on state funds for 12,000 concurrent claims existing at once.

This battery of litigation cannot be allowed to happen. Not only will it be a costly drain on resources, but the land rightfully deserves to remain public rather then state-owned. Important landmarks such as the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument deserve to be fostered under the protection of the federal government, not handed over to state and local authorities that may seek to increase revenue by privatizing such regions.

This blatant land grab has to come to an end before it can drag the state of Utah and the United States government through and expensive and lengthy court process. If this litigation is allowed to continue, it will only do harm.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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