Lee responds to Salazar’s comments on Utah lands

Sen. Mike Lee | File photo, St. George News

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Mike Lee responded to comments made yesterday by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar regarding recent Utah state land transfer legislation.  The bill sets a deadline for the federal government to transfer all lands not designated as “wilderness” or as a national park to state control by 2014.  In a statement during a campaign-style press conference in Washington D.C., Salazar suggested Utah state legislators were not serious about the land transfer, calling it “political rhetoric you see in an election year.”

“The White House remains in full campaign mode spending taxpayer funds to rally their political base with events such as yesterday’s press conference with Secretary Salazar,” said Lee, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “But let me assure the Secretary and the President that Utahns and their representatives could not be more serious about protecting our land rights and preventing federal land grabs.

“More than two-thirds of all the land within Utah’s borders is owned by the federal government, which makes it very difficult to grow our state economy, pay for education, and create new opportunities for Utahns.  The President and his advisers like to talk about “fairness,” yet how fair is it that the state of Utah must ask for federal permission to use the vast majority of their own land?

“Thankfully, states like Arizona are joining Utah in standing up for their rights and I certainly expect more to support our effort soon.

“Frankly, given the President’s terrible record on energy security, exploration and development, gas prices, and property rights, it is not surprising he would want to distract attention from his failed and economy-crippling policies and inject politics into these important issues. But we will not let him hide from his decisions that hurting families and communities.”

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5 Comments

  • Kelly Jensen April 25, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Ken Salazar is a joke. I cant wait until that sock puppet is gone.

  • Geezer April 25, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Lee isn’t saying what he wants the state to do with the land to create all those new economic opportunities. This proposal shouldn’t go any further until the conditions are spelled out. Federal lands are serving all of us right now. If they go into private ownership, as most of Utah’s statehood grant lands did, they will be off limits to the public.

  • Terry April 25, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    The Federal Government does not do a very good job in most areas BUT they do protect land from passing from use by all of us into the hands of private interests mainly developers. This seems to be somewhat of a Western “redneck” mentality that Senator Lee talks about. It is not only here in Utah but Wyoming, Idaho and elsewhere in the west. Senator Lee, don’t you have something better to concentrate your energies on?

  • Karen Spencer April 26, 2012 at 6:41 am

    The Utah politicians have already shown us how they would treat any land they happen to get their hands on. Have you seen the monster homes in the Ledges that overlook Snow Canyon State Park? That land used to belong to the State Park but Congress, through Hatch, Bishop, and Bennett, got ownership transferred to the developers of the Ledges. In addition to the unsightly homes that are visible from everywhere in the Park, the public trail on the mesa above which could have afforded a beautiful view of Snow Canyon has had to drop below the rim making it almost impossible to hike. It has shut out families which could have enjoyed it.

    The public has everything to lose if Utah ever gets control of federal lands.

  • ron April 26, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Federal land is FEDERAL land. It’s not Utah’s land. It never was Utah’s land. And as other posters have noted, the federal government–however badly it manages many things–does a pretty good job of preserving our wilderness, our cultural heritage, and areas of natural beauty for ALL of us to enjoy.

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