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My view: Public lands in the East and West — Why the difference?

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  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    June 17, 2014 12:16 a.m.

    "Failed federal policies are devastating forests, killing millions of animals, spewing billions of pounds of pollution into the air and have decimated watersheds for decades. This is not the case on private, state and tribal forests. " Prove it!

    I believe much of Utah is in Federal ownership because the Federal government purchased it from Mexico. Correct?

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    June 17, 2014 5:39 a.m.

    Why the difference?

    It is probably due to the fact that the millions of Americans who took advantage of the Homestead Act, which gave free land to farmers, would not have had a chance of producing a crop of anything except rocks on that arid land, and so there was no point in including that land along with the Homestead giveaway.

    Whatever the reason, it is what it is.

    And it's a good thing. States by and large have proven themselves much less responsible than the Federal government in responsibly utilizing that land as consistent with the best interests of the people.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    June 17, 2014 6:15 a.m.

    I think the simple reason that states don't "control" the federally owned and controlled public lands is that the rest of the country does not trust the various states to do the right thing.

    Imagine if one state or another had control of now public property. I see nothing but mining pits the size of New jersey or a sea of oil derricks. All of this "development" would pollute not only the state but also the rest of the country. I see the devastation of public forests, pollution of lakes and overgrazing of public lands.

    Apparently, this is the estimation of the rest of the country as well. Nope, don't trust some of the various states contending for control of federal lands. It ought to be preserved for everyone.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    June 17, 2014 8:00 a.m.

    Two pieces of information should give Utahns pause about having the US give this massive handout to our state legislature:

    1. Over half of the land originally set aside for Utahs's school children has been sold off, never to benefit our children again. Now the legislature and other right-wing fanatics are asking for more land, again to ostensibly benefit our school children. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me".

    2. One of our rural counties has convinced the state to sell over 1000 acres of state land to private interests, so the county can get more property tax revenue. Any guesses how they would handle additional land given to them?

    Does anyone seriously believe the Legislature would be able to make wise decisions that will impact generations in the future? The Legislature has difficulty resisting local economic interests for short term gain, and actually, since there is no real conflict-of-interest laws prohibiting it, the Legislators can shamelessly usher through laws that directly benefit them.

    Case in point: Ken Ivory is a real estate developer.

  • stevo123 slc, ut
    June 17, 2014 8:08 a.m.

    "Forever disclaim all right a title" That sounds pretty cut and dried to me Rep. Ivory

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    June 17, 2014 8:37 a.m.

    This is a self-serving piece, meant to foment the issue, which means more support for Ivory's lobbying group, which means a secure income for him. Too bad he has never convinced me that other than serving the special economic interests of a few, his plan would benefit Utahns as a whole. It doesn't.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    June 17, 2014 8:41 a.m.

    By the way, visit West Virginia or Western Pennsylvania and take a look at the strip mining. Go to the Hudson River Valley and look at all the fences around beautiful, undeveloped land that tell folks to get lost. Go to any number of streams in the East where fishing is prohibited because it means accessing private lands. The folks like Ivory are selling something that would mean a great loss to something that makes Utah special. You won't like it if he gets his way.

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    June 17, 2014 8:58 a.m.

    Why the huge rush to privatize Utah public lands?

    The future of Utah is intellectual capital, and we attract it with high quality of life. This means clean air, well run governments, cultural venues, and outdoor recreation.

    Worldwide, countries that live on mineral wealth are corrupt, horrible places to live. Anyone want to move to Saudi Arabia, South Africa, or Nigeria?

    We need more talk about education, and less dreams of tar sands, coal mines, and oil shale.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    June 17, 2014 11:04 a.m.

    Mr. Ivory is on the trail of the scent of MONEY again.

  • William Gronberg Payson, UT
    June 17, 2014 11:55 a.m.

    Mr. Ivory's second paragraph is a textbook example of taking selected and/or false facts to prove a false conclusion. He is allegedly disposing of the "arid" FACTOR in the majority federal ownership of western states.

    He claims that "Oregon, Washington and Alaska are the states with the most precipitation..."

    False.

    It is indeed wet west of the Cascade Mountains and the Alaska panhandle is very wet.

    #1 Hawaii 63 inches
    #2 Louisiana 60 inches
    #3 Mississippi 59 inches
    #29 Washington 38 inches
    #36 Oregon 27 inches
    #39 Alaska 22 inches

    Mr. Ivory should tour Harney and Lake counties in Oregon. I would claim that aridity is the major reason they contain 18,000 square miles and a total population of 16,000 people.

    Southeastern Oregon is often called their "Outback". Like most of Australia, it is arid and with few people. The Rum Jungle near Darwin does not prove that Australia is endowed with plentiful precipitation.

    Aridity is indeed a major FACTOR in the ownership and settlement of the western states of the United States of America.

  • Shimlau SAINT GEORGE, UT
    June 17, 2014 11:58 a.m.

    @10cc First of all a disclaimer, I don't know Ivory, nor did I know he was the ivory of the property developer. There are some issues with what you said, here they are; First if the federal government owns the land, taxes cannot be collected from it. Payment in Lieu of Taxes (pilt) runs seriously below market value. Second, The insustrial park that I work in was all School trust land. It was sold off to private entities and those private entities pay property taxes, I believe at a higher rate than residential. On my houses property tax, over 75% of the taxes paid to the county, are alocated to the school district. Your statement that "Over half of the land originally set aside for Utah's school children has been sold off, never to benefit our children again." is misinformed at best, or outright false at worst.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    June 17, 2014 2:46 p.m.

    The far eastern states were largely settled into towns and communities before the U.S. government even existed. The western states were largely purchased by the U.S. government before being significantly settled by Americans. That's the main difference.

  • stuff Provo, UT
    June 17, 2014 4:06 p.m.

    Finally, a common-sense, educational statement on federal/private ownership of land within a state's borders. Thank you, Mr. Ivory.

    (On a side note, boy, the enviros are sure in a tizzy over this thread and still haven't made a good argument.)

  • photobeauty Blanding, UT
    June 17, 2014 4:11 p.m.

    In my humble opinion Utah and other western states should be treated the same way the eastern states have been. Federal control seems to not only shut down energy development but is putting further restrictions on visitors to the point of making even that source of income less likely.

  • andyjaggy American Fork, UT
    June 17, 2014 4:24 p.m.

    Mr. Ivory. I suggest if you like the idea of your state owning all of the land within it's boundaries that you move out East. Have fun paying insane amounts of money for hunting on private land and good luck finding a spot where you can camp your jeep and watch the stars without trespassing on private land. The public lands in Utah are one of the things that make this state great, without them a whole lot of us would move elsewhere. How would that be for economic improvement?

    Most of the rest of us in this state love our public lands and are quite upset with your crusade of trying to take them away, privatize them, and give them to the state so they can be sold off for real estate development (funny how that's your background isn't it) and energy extraction. Last I checked Eastern Utah is in a huge oil and gas boom, so it's a bit hard to feel sorry for you that you can't drill, mine, and develop every acre of our state.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    June 17, 2014 4:50 p.m.

    Read the Constitution. The Federal Government is not allowed to own land except for a district that is 10 miles square, or for forts, magazines of for federal buildings. The people of New York have no "joint ownership" of land in Utah. The people of the commonwealth of Virginia have no "joint ownership" of land in Utah. The State of Utah is separate and distinct from all other States. We are not a "county" of the Federal Government. We are a State. As a State, we have full autonomy, just as New York, or Virginia, or Mississippi has.

    If the people of New York think that they own Utah, then the people of Utah have equal claim to the property of New York. How about handing over Manhatten to all the citizens of the United States?

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    June 17, 2014 6:00 p.m.

    Mike Richards -

    It is true that we the people of the United States own that public land in Utah.

    You must as well accept and embrace that fact.

    That means, BTW, that Utahns can't exploit that land at America's expense.

    Get used to that too.

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    June 17, 2014 6:02 p.m.

    Mike Richards wrote: "We are a State. As a State, we have full autonomy, just as New York, or Virginia, or Mississippi has."

    This is completely false.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    June 17, 2014 6:42 p.m.

    There is big deception by the left.

    It is not between federal and private but between federal and state ownership.

    And it is ludicrous to believe the feds can control better than the state.

    It is insulting to say the eastern state stares can control their lands but the western state states cannot.

    When a state became a state the lands should have turned over to them?

    The real question is why didn't that happen? The eastern state didn't have that problem.

  • 21MOM Keaau, HI
    June 17, 2014 7:15 p.m.

    @liberal larry, you asked:
    "Why the huge rush to privatize Utah public lands? "
    My response -Because I'd rather see America in the hands of Americans than in the hands of China or any other Anti-Americans.

    You stated:
    "We need more talk about education, and less dreams of tar sands, coal mines, and oil shale."
    My response- Are you also one to think that we can just run to the grocery stores when the cattleman and farmers are all put out of business?
    I agree with 'the truth' in the statement, "It is not between federal and private but between federal and state ownership. And it is ludicrous to believe the feds can control better than the state.
    It is insulting to say the eastern state can control their lands but the western states cannot".

  • Meckofahess Salt Lake City, UT
    June 17, 2014 9:29 p.m.

    I don't trust the State of Utah to own the federal lands. That will result in the land being sold off to a few wealthy individuals or corporations who will promptly post NO TRESPASSING on the land. Average folks will not then be able to access the land for any purpose. Drive up west of Tremonton and you'll see a huge sign that says "NOT TRESSPASSING NEXT 5 MILES". That land at one time was accessible to regular folks for hunting, camping and such. Now a wealthy ranch owner wants you all to just keep on driving by as fast as you can. That is just one of many such "private" lands in that area.

  • high school fan Huntington, UT
    June 17, 2014 10:17 p.m.

    It is amazing that people can read a story without comprehending exactly what it says. The eastern states received all the land when they became states while the west did not. A lot of this country became part of this country with the Louisiana purchase and the eastern part is state land and the western part is not.
    Th public land in the West should be controlled by the states and not the federal government as was intended. This us nit complicated and quite easy to understand if one takes their personnel prejudice out of it.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    June 17, 2014 11:52 p.m.

    Re: Meckofahess

    "I don't trust the State of Utah to own the federal lands. That will result in the land being sold off to a few wealthy individuals or corporations who will promptly post NO TRESPASSING on the land. "

    Exactly so. Had these public lands been under Utah state control since statehood, all of it would be privately owned by rich Californians with access to everyone else severely restricted.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    June 17, 2014 11:56 p.m.

    It sounds like Mr Ivory wants utah taxpayers to subsidize his business.

    No thanks ivory. We refuse to make you rich by us giving away our lands, our money, and our freedom.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    June 18, 2014 5:49 a.m.

    The picture accompanying this article tells a big story and the text backs it up. Near my home town in southeastern Idaho is the Curlew National Grassland. The Curlew Grassland was inhabited by the Bannock and Shoshone Indian Tribes before the settlement of the pioneers. In the late 1800s and early 1900s the Curlew Valley had a ranch on every 160 acres. When drought years of the late 20's and early 30's came, the land wouldn't support these homesteads.

    The Federal Government purchased several thousands of these acres between 1934 and 1942. Today the Curlew National Grassland is administered by the Forest Service, and managed to promote and demonstrate grassland agriculture and sustained-yield management of forage, fish and wildlife, water and recreation resources. So as usual, the government bailed out the private sector and now the private sector is crying foul.

    Another folley about this essay "...other western states — where polygamy was never an issue..." The Idaho Constitution not only outlaws bigamy but also bars polygamists and persons "celestially married" from public office and voting. Not until the Budge V. Toncray case in 1908 did the court say that did not include monogamous Mormons married in an LDS temple.

  • Jim Chmelik Idaho County , ID
    June 18, 2014 7:25 a.m.

    For those who think the federal government is doing a good job managing "our" lands here are some facts pertaining to the 2012 Fires in Idaho County where I am a commissioner.

    1.7 million acre burned in Idaho 2012

    246,000 acres burned in Idaho County

    Typical timber inventory per acre in the Nez / Clearwater forest is 15,000-25,000 BDFT per acre, source Idaho Department of Lands

    Typical historical harvest Nez / Clearwater forest 10,000 BDFT per acre, source USFS

    For example purposes let use 5,000 BDFT burned per acre in Idaho County

    246,000 acres @5,000 BDFT per acre equates to 1.23 billion BDFT burned

    @$300.00 per thousand this equals $369,000,000.00 in burned trees

    The multiplier in a timber manufacturing economy is 5-7 lets use 3. This equates to 1 Billion in lost economic activity. That's lost salaries which pay taxes, taxes to fund state and county governments, education, social security, Medicare, Medicaid, Workmans Compensation, and unemployment taxes

    12.8 Million tons of Green House Gases released into the atmosphere, source USFS

    750,000 dead Animals, Source USFS

    America's ownership is destroying Idaho's environment.

    Respectfully,

    Jim Chmelik
    Idaho County Commissioner

  • ECR Burke, VA
    June 18, 2014 8:07 a.m.

    So a county commissioner in Idaho's largest county is claiming the US Government is responsible for lightning strikes (or human arson) that caused the burning of thousands of acres. He must think the federal government has powers beyond my knowledge. And would those acres not have been burned had they been in private hands? Would there be private resources available to put out the fires? Or would the private sector rely on the government to do that?

    I suppose I am most concerned about his last sentence "America's ownership is destroying Idaho's environment." Who would he suggest own it, China?

  • Spangs Salt Lake City, UT
    June 18, 2014 9:13 a.m.

    This was an excellent history lesson describing how we have so fortuitously come to have so much amazing Western land in the hands of the public trust.

    God bless our predecessors for being so prescient as to know future generations could not be trusted to remain good stewards of our precious birthright.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    June 18, 2014 9:21 a.m.

    Jim Chmelik -

    I’m sorry sir, but your claims make absolutely NO sense at all.

    You’re suggesting that private or state ownership of those lands would keep fires away?

    . . . Or maybe they would just go out by themselves because God likes State and private ownership but not Federal ownership?

    Most fire crews, BTW, are federally funded operations.

    One big reason for the greater number of fires these days is past fire suppression. In other words, the more successful you are at preventing fires, the more dead brush piles up and smaller type 2 fuels can accumulate that can really spread a fire when it happens.

    Are you suggesting that the local town fire department would be equipped to fight vast wildfires?
    . . . As if every town has air tankers capable of spreading fire retardant in critical areas and a helicopter fleet trained in fire suppression.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    June 18, 2014 9:49 a.m.

    What private land owner proponents and elected officals on this thread fail to acknowledge is the vast majority of Americans want to maintain control of our public lands. The more they push their agenda the greater resistance they find from we the people. Western public lands will remain public because the majority of people want it to remain that way.

  • cavetroll SANDY, UT
    June 18, 2014 12:59 p.m.

    "Utah is more than $2.5 billion below average in per-pupil funding for education because less of the lands in Utah are taxable."

    Hey Kenny boy, do you really expect us to believe that if the reason Utah is last in per pupil spending is due to the fact that you and your cronies can't develop these lands? Seriously, you and your cohorts in the legislature have ZERO intention of spending any proceeds on the children. I'm willing to wager that more money from these lands would line the pockets of you and your owners than would go to the students of Utah.

  • joeandrade Salt Lake City, UT
    June 18, 2014 1:31 p.m.

    Why the difference? TIME.

    We are now in a 21st Century with severe environmental, population, economic, and governmental problems.
    The enabling act language was based on 18th and 19th century assumptions about vastness, lack of constraints, the desirability of growth. The land and air are no longer vast, we need to begin to operate under some constraints (we engineers call them 'boundary conditions'), and we can no longer accept unlimited growth.

    In addition Utah is governed by a Legislature and Governor who subscribe to a 19th Century, hard-wired, ideological mentality that is no longer relevant - and indeed is very dangerous - to societal and national survival in the 21st Century.

    We cannot afford to permit such a Legislature and Governor to have any authority over now-Federal lands, for fear that the state would mis-manage and degrade such lands. It is your (and my) kids and grandkids who will most suffer those consequences.

    Talk with (not to) your kids - they understand.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    June 18, 2014 1:41 p.m.

    The oligarchs are alive and well here in utah. Kenny and the one percenters want is to hand over our lands and freedoms so that he can enrich himself. It's funny how the oligarchs are attacking American salaries, schools, unions, and lands with cheap promises of "land development" and "local control." In reality, all that means is, "average Americans, we want what you have."

    Anyone who believes the Kool-aid that privatizing these lands will improve our schools needs to have a quick 5 minute discussion with someone from the east who has seen their public lands ripped from them.

    I'm sorry, Kenny, but your sly words aren't convincing. Although we have an abundance of low information voters in this state, the vast majority don't want these lands out of the hands of the Feds. They know what you intend to do with them.

    Kenny, although that apple looks awfully tempting, we the people shall not partake.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    June 18, 2014 3:12 p.m.

    According to a ThinkProgress analysis, the American Lands Council (ALC) — an organization created to help states to claim ownership of federal lands — has collected contributions of taxpayer money from government officials in 18 counties in Utah, 10 counties in Nevada, four counties in Washington, three counties in Arizona, two counties in Oregon, two counties in New Mexico, and one county in Colorado, Idaho, and Wyoming. In total, county-level elected officials have already paid the ALC more than $200,000 in taxpayer money.

    This should be investigated immediately by the AG's office.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    June 18, 2014 5:56 p.m.

    @Meckofahess
    @Marxist

    That is utter nonsense and based all on opinion.

    Are eastern state owned lands all privatized over the years? I doubt it.

    We know our lands and know what is worth protecting. Some ninny from the east or from the feds certainly doesn't know better.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    June 18, 2014 7:39 p.m.

    As I read the comments here and noted that the majority are disdainful and/or dismissive of Rep. Ivory's very logical and reasonable arguments in favor of returning the property rights to land currently owned by the Federal government to the States within which the property exists, I had a recurring thought, "Why are liberals so predictably in favor of dictatorialism at the highest governmental level?"

    Why not let the states and other government entities that are closer in proximity and, usually, temperament to the people of the area, have greater control? What is it about a liberal mentality that sided, as Tories, with King George during the time of the country's fight for independence? There is something a decidedly servile nature that seems to be in play. For the life of me, I can't figure out why.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    June 18, 2014 8:37 p.m.

    RE: Samhill ""Why are liberals so predictably in favor of dictatorialism at the highest governmental level?"

    Because the Federal government has been the most progressive, e.g. civil rights. The states for the most part have been retrograde, e.g. the south and the Bible belt.

  • William Gronberg Payson, UT
    June 18, 2014 10:59 p.m.

    Mr. samhill has "...noted that the majority are disdainful and/or dismissive of Rep. Ivory's very logical and reasonable arguments..."

    I am "dismissive" because of the second paragraph in his essay. His "facts" are false and they lead him to a false conclusion.

    See my post of 11:55 a.m. June 17.

    He claims that "Oregon, Washington and Alaska are the states with the most precipitation..."

    False.

    It is indeed wet west of the Cascade Mountains and the Alaska panhandle is very wet.

    #1 Hawaii 63 inches
    #2 Louisiana 60 inches
    #3 Mississippi 59 inches
    #29 Washington 38 inches
    #36 Oregon 27 inches
    #39 Alaska 22 inches

    Mr. Ivory should tour Harney and Lake counties in Oregon. I would claim that aridity is the major reason they contain 18,000 square miles and a total population of 16,000 people.

    Southeastern Oregon is often called their "Outback". Like most of Australia, it is arid and with few people. The Rum Jungle near Darwin does not prove that Australia is endowed with plentiful precipitation.

    Aridity is indeed a major FACTOR in the ownership and settlement of the western states of the United States of America.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    June 19, 2014 4:54 p.m.

    @Marxist

    Did King George and his parliament do a better job watching out for the colony than the locals?

    I am pretty sure our founding fathers would disagree.

    Slavery was in place before the states were formed, your analysis is incorrect and incomplete.
    Progressive central control is not best.

    Just compare the first two hundred years of progressive central control by a king thousands of miles away to the local control of the last two hundred years.

    While change hasn't been easy, it is a vast improvement over central progressive control.