Last week, attorneys general from a group of Western states released a 48-page report analysis saying that Utah and other western states lack strong legal arguments to seize federal lands. In response, Uintah County Commissioner Mike McKee says the announcement should confirm the value of the Public Lands Initiative which he says can accomplish the same goals but in a legal way. “I don’t know what position the state of Utah will take but I think it is clear from the Attorney General’s Office that there is not a good argument to claim public lands,” says McKee. “One thing we have long said here in the Basin is if there ever was a transfer of public lands, we would want to ensure that we did not lose mineral lease funds. We use those to accomplish valuable goals in the Basin.” The western states movement to transfer public lands to state control is a separate issue from the Public Lands Initiative, explains Commissioner McKee. Local officials have overall stated their support of Congressman Rob Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative.