Utah to Pursue Lawsuit to Seize Control of Federal Lands
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah legislators are voting to have consultants draft a lawsuit challenging the U.S. government's control of federal lands that make up two-thirds of the state.
A Republican-dominated commission made the decision Wednesday after a consulting team said its research concludes the Constitution doesn't give the U.S. government power to control federal lands within state borders.
The consulting teams of lawyers estimate a lawsuit could cost $14 million. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, who will make a final decision on the lawsuit, didn't immediately have comment.
Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups strongly oppose the plan. U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has said it's a waste of time for Utah to debate taking over the land. Utah passed a law in 2012 demanding the federal government hand over the lands by the end of 2014, but the deadline passed with no such transfer.