It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Utah to Use Eminent Domain to Seize Federal Land
For years government has been using declarations of eminent domain to seize private property and use it, supposedly, for the public good. It's a practice that has been abused, and is almost always controversial.
Now, one state proposes an entirely new use of eminent domain: take land from the federal government so that it can be developed by private ownership and investment.
The move comes in the state of Utah, where sixty percent of the state's land is owned by the federal government. Writing for journalist Steve Farrell's new pro-liberty news site, The Moral Liberal, Henry Lamb, author of The rise of Global Governance and chairman of Sovereignty International, noted that the measure, introduced in the Utah state legislator by Representative Christopher Herrod, was motivated by the failure of the U.S. government to live up to its obligations to the state of Utah:
As a condition of statehood, the citizens of Utah were required to “…forever disclaim right and title to unappropriated public lands.” In the same July 16, 1894 Enabling Act, the federal government agreed to grant four sections of every township, and various other grants of land, to the state to provide permanent funding for schools and other government purposes.
Herrod, and his backers, contend that the federal government has not lived up to its end of the bargain, and its failure has imposed economic hardship on Utah.
That hardship is being measured in spending on education. According to the Washington Post, "Utah spends less per student than any other state [on education] and has the nation's largest class sizes."
Read more: The New American
Utah governor signs bills to seize federal land
Two measures approved by Gov. Gary R. Herbert would allow use of eminent domain to take valuable sites. A long court fight is likely.
Salt Lake City - Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert has signed two bills authorizing the state to use eminent domain to seize some of the federal government's most valuable land.
Supporters hope the bills, which the Republican governor signed Saturday, will trigger a flood of similar legislation throughout the West and, eventually, a Supreme Court battle that they hope to win -- against long odds.
More than 60% of Utah is owned by the U.S. government, and policymakers complain that federal ownership hinders their ability to generate tax revenue and adequately fund public schools. Governments use eminent domain to take private property for public use.
Initially, the state would target three areas, including the Kaiparowits plateau in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which is home to large coal reserves. Eminent domain would also be used on parcels where Interior Secretary Ken Salazar scrapped 77 oil and gas leases last year.