Fighting Back: Utah Oks Eminent Domain Use on Federal Land — Steve Farrell

Self-Educated American with Steve Farrell

Ready to give up in midst of the biggest and most important political battle of our time? The states aren’t. And this time it’s Utah … again.

On Saturday Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed two bills into law that authorize the use of eminent domain to take back land Utah says is rightfully theirs under the original contract signed with the United States back in 1896, when statehood was granted.

Currently, more than 60 percent of Utah’s land is owned by the federal government, much of it energy rich land that lays unused and wasted. This, despite the fact that Utah, like most states right now, is in a cash crunch. Ten million dollars was recently slashed from an education budget that already expends less per student than any other state. Yet the cash cow is there, it’s just in the wrong hands.

For starters, Utah has its sites on the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, where the Clinton Administration locked up clean burning coal reserves from use (to the advantage of Red China and Indonesia), as well as numerous parcels of land where 77 oil and gas leases were scrapped under the signature of President Obama’s Interior Secretary Ken Salazar just last year.

Supporters hope Utah’s legislation will inspire similar laws throughout the Western States. Let’s hope so.

Reminder: the U.S. Constitution does not give authority to the U.S Government to buy up or own huge chunks of land.

Steve Farrell is one of the orig­i­nal pun­dits at Sil­ver Eddy Award Win­ner, (1999–2008), asso­ciate pro­fes­sor of polit­i­cal econ­omy at George Wythe Uni­ver­sity, the author of the highly praised inspi­ra­tional novel “Dark Rose,” and edi­tor in chief of Self-Educated American.