Western ‘Attorneys General’ Group Says States Lack Teeth to Seize Public Lands

After two years of bipartisan work between ‘Attorneys General’ in western states including Utah, a report has been released determining that states lack legal arguments to gain control of public lands within their boundaries. In August 2014, a Public Lands Subcommittee of the Western Attorneys General Litigation Committee was formed to examine the legal side to federal land ownership in western states. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes was included on the subcommittee that explored whether or not the federal government is “legally obligated to sell or transfer the public lands within a given state to that state” as Utah and other states have argued. After two years, the Subcommittee concludes that the constitutional principle of equal sovereignty to prevent federal intrusions on states, does not apply to public lands. The report states that “court precedents...provide little support for the proposition that the principles of equal footing or equal sovereignty may compel transfer of public lands to the western states. The Court has been given ample opportunity to apply such principles to public lands but, when given the opportunity to do so, it has repeatedly distinguished property issues as independent from the ‘limiting or qualifying of political rights and obligations.’”

 

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Kristin Baldwin

Kristin never planned to work in news radio but has thoroughly enjoyed being part of the news team at KVEL. Her love of literature and writing developed in high school which led her to study English Literature and Technical Writing at BYU. She received her BA in English from BYU in 2005 and studied at UVU in Orem for 2 semesters to become a Certified Technical Writer in 2006. Two months after completion she began her dream job of being a stay-at-home mom.  As mother of 2 energetic kids, she began writing from home for the KVEL news team in 2011 and considers it the perfect fit as a full time mom and part time writer.