Utah gov. OKs eminent domain use on federal land
Fed up with federal ownership of more than half the land in Utah, Republican Gov. Gary Herbert on Saturday authorized the use of eminent domain to take some of the U.S. government's most valuable parcels.
Herbert signed a pair of bills into law that supporters hope will trigger a flood of similar legislation throughout the West, where lawmakers contend that federal ownership restricts economic development in an energy-rich part of the country.
Governments use eminent domain to take private property for public use.
The goal is to spark a U.S. Supreme Court battle that legislators' own attorneys acknowledge has little chance of success.
But Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and other Republicans say the case is still worth fighting, since the state could reap millions of dollars for state schools each year if it wins.
More than 60 percent of Utah is owned by the U.S. government, and policy makers here have long complained that federal ownership hinders their ability to generate tax revenue and adequately fund public schools.
An effort seen as fundamental to funding of public education was taken to the next level by Gov. Gary Herbert. Saturday he signed the legislation authorizing Utah to use eminent domain to seize federal lands. In an update the Wall Street Journal has written a solid article on the action which sets the pace for other states to follow and legal battles ahead.
All is not well between the states and the federal government. Across the land, states in recent months have signed sovereignty statements, reminders of sorts that the 9th and 10th Amendments imbue the states with certain powers.
And last week, more than a dozen states sued to strike down the new federal health-care law.
Now this interesting little movement, as reported by the AP: Utah Governor Gary Herbert on Saturday authorized the use of eminent domain to take some of the U.S. government’s most valuable parcels.
Yes, LBers, you’ve read that correctly: a state has invoked eminent domain in order to take back land from the feds.
More Info on the Utah Eminent Domain Legislation: