IRON COUNTY – In a meeting Friday, the Iron County Commission passed a resolution reiterating its displeasure with the federal government, the federal government’s perceived overreach and its general mismanagement in matters negatively affecting the county and its citizens. The resolution states that federal laws and mandates violating the Constitution will not be recognized by the county and are counted as “invalid.”
Something “heavy hitting” for Washington, D.C.
The resolution, called the “Constitutional Jurisdiction Resolution,” lays out what the County Commission sees as failures and mismanagement on the part of the federal government. Specifically, the resolution lists ongoing disputes related to the management of prairie dogs, wild horses and burros, backcountry roads and area forests.
“We’ve individually pointed out these issues for a long time,” said Commissioner David Miller, chairman of the Iron County Commission. County commissioners from Iron County and other Utah counties will be visiting Washington, D.C., next week to meet with federal officials and the state’s congressional delegations, Miller said. The group wanted to present something in writing that was “very heavy hitting,” and so the resolution was created.
Portions of the resolution state:
The Iron County Board of Commissioners declares that any federal act, law, order, executive order, rule or regulation which violate the rights of Iron County citizens as set forth in clear language in the Constitution of the State of Utah, including but not limited to any attempt to enforce said actions is invalid in this county, shall not be recognized by this county, is specifically rejected by this county, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this county.
Be it further resolved that all State, civil and criminal law enforcement in Iron County is the jurisdiction of the local law enforcement agencies and any attempt by federal agencies to administer police powers or attempt to enforce law within Iron County, outside the authority granted by the federal constitution and state law is invalid.
“(The federal government) doesn’t have any authority past the enumerated powers,” Miller said, referring the the 10th Amendment of the Constitution, which is also recited in the resolution:
Amendment X (10) of the United States Constitution specifically cites that ‘The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.’
In the opinion of states’ rights advocates, this means any specific authority, law or regulation that isn’t expressly delegated to the federal government via the Constitution is left in the states’ hands to deal with as they individually see fit.
Officials in Washington, D.C., “don’t get it,” Miller said. He hopes that meeting with representatives and directors of various federal agencies involved in Iron County, such as the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, will lead to an understanding, he said, and things can be worked out. If that doesn’t happen, Iron County officials may take matters into their own hands.
Wild horses issue seen as example of mismanagement
Miller pointed to ongoing problems relating to the population of wild horses within the county. The population currently exceeds “appropriate management levels, or AMLs, and poses a threat to livestock forage, watershed and wildlife habitat, according to the resolution. The Wild Horse and Burro Program, which is administered by the Bureau of Land Management, has not kept federally mandated herd populations in check, Miller said, thus breaking federal law.
“They’re blatantly breaking federal law,” he said.
If any regular person broke the law, they would be punished, Miller said, yet the BLM gets a free pass.
For its part, the BLM has previously taken the position that budget constraints and limited resources have played a part in not able keeping up with managing the wild herd populations in Iron County.
“One of our biggest hopes is they manage and reduce horse populations,” Miller said. However, if the BLM doesn’t, the county could likely become involved.
That sentiment is echoed in the resolution, which states that state-based wildlife management agencies are “poised to appropriately determine AMLs and effectively bring populations in line with AMLs.”
Parts of the resolution may eventually become a part of the county code, Miller said.
The resolution can be read in its entirety here.
St. George News contacted BLM-Utah for comment and did not receive a response by time of publication.
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