University of Utah Legal Analysis Ignores "Stubborn Facts" on the Transfer of Public Lands Movement

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The recent Legal Analysis of the Transfer of Public Lands Movement from University of Utah’s Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources and the Environment ignores, avoids and alters basic "stubborn facts." As highlighted in the article “University of Utah Legal Analysis Ignores ‘Stubborn Facts’ on the Transfer of Public Lands Movement” Utah State Representative and American Lands Council President Ken Ivory reviews the neglected stubborn facts in detail.

Map Showing the Inequity of  Federally Controlled Land, East vs. West.

The Federal Lands Inequity Faultline

Ken Ivory, President of ALC states "These “stubborn facts” are so obviously hidden in plain sight, that it begs the question whether the authors arrived at their conclusion merely to suit their own "inclinations,” “dictates” and “passions." "

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John Adams famously said once "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."

According to the American Lands Council, the recent Legal Analysis of the Transfer of Public Lands Movement (Oct 29, 2014 - White Paper No. 2014-2) from University of Utah’s Wallace Stegner Center for Land, Resources and the Environment ignores, avoids and alters basic "stubborn facts." As highlighted in the article “University of Utah Legal Analysis Ignores ‘Stubborn Facts’ on the Transfer of Public Lands Movement” by Ken Ivory, Utah State Representative and president of the American Lands Council, available at: Stubborn Facts , these “stubborn facts” are so obviously hidden in plain sight, that it begs the question whether the authors arrived at their conclusion merely to suit their own "inclinations,” “dictates” and “passions."

Additionally, the Legal Analysis takes great pains to suppress a number of obvious "stubborn facts" elementary to any good faith examination of the transfer of public lands. Some examples of “stubborn facts” ignored by the Legal Analysis include:

  • The statehood enabling act terms for the disposal of public lands are the same for states east and west of Colorado – the treatment by the federal government of western states is far from the same.
  • For decades, the federal government controlled as much as 90% of all lands in states east of Colorado like Illinois, Louisiana and Missouri. Many of those states had the same “forever disclaim” statehood terms and yet they banded together and compelled Congress to transfer title to their lands.
  • The Legal Analysis argues that the word “shall” really only means “may” where the enabling act provides “five per centum of the proceeds of the sale of public lands … which shall be sold … shall be paid to the States,” while ignoring the official act of the Utah Legislature in 1915 demanding the transfer of Utah’s public lands “in conformity with the terms of our Enabling Act.”
  • The Legal Analysis makes reference to a U.S. Supreme Court case that declares "For equality of States means that they are not less or greater, or different in dignity or power." However, the Legal Analysis ignores the reality as reflected by this map that the federal treatment of the western states is anything but “equality … in dignity or power.”

Under increasing federal control over western lands, access is restricted, health is diminished, and productivity is depressed. The Transfer Public Lands Movement is about securing better access, better health and better productivity of federal lands through more responsive local control. (See the Public Policy Statement adopted by leaders from 14 different states, http://www.americanlandscouncil.org/policy_statements)

American Lands Council is a non-profit organization of individuals, counties, business, and organizations that was formed in 2012. The Mission of the American Lands Council is to secure local control of western public lands by transfering federal public lands. ALC is leading the charge by giving leaders the knowledge and courage to battle for the only solution big enough to ensure better access, better health, AND better productivity through the Transfer of Public Lands (TPL) to local stewardship.

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Rebecca Ivory

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