Deseret news 5/13/2013
Excerpt: “SALT LAKE CITY — Another showdown has erupted between Utah and the federal government, this time over the state’s efforts to limit the police powers of federal agencies like the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management.
The U.S. government sought an emergency order to prevent the new measure from becoming law Tuesday, which was agreed to in a hasty teleconference Monday. In exchange for the state delay in putting the law on the books, there will be an expedited hearing schedule to argue the merits of the law. At issue is a bill signed by Gov. Gary Herbert that was due to take effect Tuesday restricting the police powers of employees with the Forest Service, National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management. …”
Read entire article at http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865579953/Feds-fight-Utah-over-measure-to-curb-law-enforcement-authority.html
Deseret News 4/17/2013
Excerpt: “SALT LAKE CITY — Members of the Western Governors’ Association, including Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, said forests are in such bad shape the federal government should turn to industry — like logging — for help.
“We have been concerned for some time that federal forest lands throughout the West are experiencing serious environmental stresses that affect the health and vitality of these ecosystems. They are overgrown; they exhibit all the symptoms of an unhealthy ecosystem; and they demand urgent attention.” …”
Read entire article at http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865578463/Western-governors-want-private-sector-to-help-manage-forests.html
Deseret news 3/17/2013
Excerpt: “SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s conservative lawmakers this session continued to engineer their own version of a coup d’etat against the federal government over its land management policies, passing a flurry of resolutions and new laws that assert and reiterate dominion over the state’s destiny.
They urged the federal government to butt out of Utah prairie dog management in Iron County and leave it to the locals, and told them to drop San Juan County populations of the Gunnison sage grouse from consideration of being named to the Endangered Species list. …”
Read entire article at http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865576052/Dust-settles-on-legislative-session-but-Utah-land-war-continues.html?pg=all
Salt Lake Tribune 3/14/2013
Excerpt: “The Senate approved a bill Thursday that would enable local authorities to “mitigate” national forest lands they deem a threat to public safety, but not before stripping a crucial provision.
The House version of HB164 would require the state to cover the legal costs arising from local officials’ decision to log or bulldoze a forest without federal approvals. For some senators, that could expose the state to too much liability, estimated to cost up to $1 million per incident, according to a fiscal note. ….”
Read entire article at http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/56006449-90/bill-forest-local-senate.html.csp
Think Progress 3/11/2013
Excerpt: “Despite the many problems that states and municipalities face today—from budget shortfalls to unemployment—seven western states have decided to embark on unconstitutional and quixotic battles attempting to force the federal government to turn millions of acres of public lands over to the states. Doing so, however, would result in the eventual exploitation for private profits of these beautiful parks, refuges, forests, and other lands because the leaders driving such efforts would prefer to see quick economic gains from resource extraction rather than prioritizing these areas’ more sustainable economic uses such as recreation. …..”
Read rest of article at http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/03/11/1698221/state-efforts-to-reclaim-our-public-lands-traced-to-alec/?mobile=nc
Salt Lake Tribune 3/4/2013
Excerpt: “A House panel on Monday endorsed legislation aimed at empowering local government officials to log or otherwise “mitigate” national forests if they believe they “may adversely affect” public health and safety.
Rep. Marc Roberts, R-Santaquin, unveiled HB164 Monday and a sister resolution in the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee, where he and his allies argued the U.S. Forest Service has mismanaged federal forest lands to the point that they are at undue risk of burning and al-Qaeda is exploring how to use them as a weapon of terror. …”
Read entire article at http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/55947675-90/forest-hjr-committee-fire.html.csp
Deseret news 2/28/2013
Excerpt: “SALT LAKE CITY — Multiple rural county sheriffs from Utah testified Thursday about the abusive use of police power by Bureau of Land Management rangers or forest protection officers with the U.S. Forest Service. They are asserting it is time to rein in the authority the agencies should have never been allowed to exercise.
Sheriffs from San Juan, Kane and Garfield counties spoke in favor of HB155, sponsored by Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, which proposes to limit BLM rangers and forest protection officers from exercising police power over state and local laws unless someone’s safety is at risk or federal contracts are in place with local police agencies. ….”
Read entire article at http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865574454/Lawmakers-Utah-sheriffs-want-to-rein-in-renegade-BLM-Forest-Service-officers.html
Salt Lake Tribune 2/14/2013
Excerpt: “Wildlife conservation groups on Thursday praised a decision by Dixie National Forest withdrawing a plan to harvest 8,000 acres of old-growth forest near Escalante.
“Conservationists are calling this a valentine for wildlife,” said Kevin Mueller, program director for Utah Environmental Congress. “The withdrawal really is a reprieve for wildlife.” But others, including Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, said opposing the timber sale is “not proper thinking.” ….”
Read entire article at http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/55833362-90/forest-groups-harvest-mueller.html.csp
Provo Daily Herald 1/22/2013
Excerpt: “Idaho may be the next Western state to pick a public lands fight with the federal government for control of millions of acres of forest, rangeland and mineral deposits within its borders. Idaho lawmakers, motivated by the potential for new revenue and the appeal of having more authority over how those lands are managed, are gearing up to follow the lead taken by Utah and Arizona in 2012.
Last year, Utah and Arizona approved measures demanding the federal government surrender control of millions of acres of land overseen by the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and other federal agencies. …..”
Read entire article at http://www.heraldextra.com/news/state-and-regional/utah/idaho-may-be-next-state-for-lands-fight-with-feds/article_ebf8ac69-1226-5fa2-ac38-e19c38781a8b.html
Jackson Hole News and Guide 1/15/2013
Excerpt: “The U.S. Forest Service should eliminate or restructure its regional office rather than study merging the two national forests nearest to Jackson, a Jackson Hole watchdog group says.
In a letter sent last week, the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance asked Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell to consider the idea. Bridger-Teton and Caribou-Targhee national forest leaders are just weeks from pushing for or against a merger of the two national forests. The consolidation study was ordered to explore costsavings. …”
Read entire article at http://www.jhnewsandguide.com/article.php?art_id=9442.