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Petitions seek to derail federal land grab

by Stephen Dark
Posted // 2013-03-13 -

Concerned that Gov. Gary Herbert's bid through House Bill 148 to gain control of federal lands is "capturing the popular imagination" of many in Utah, a Kanab woman has launched a petition to stop the bill.

Ty Markham ran unsuccessfully against Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, for District 73 in November 2012 on the Justice Party ticket. She fears that if HB148 is passed, it will result in decades of litigation that will drain Utah's coffers and threaten the future of both national-park landmarks and rural tourism.

She found inspiration for her petition in one called For Kids and Land, which is sponsored by teachers, educational figures and local opinion makers who wish to stop the federal land grab before it gets any closer to becoming Utah law.

"They want to see this be defeated on behalf of school children," she says.

You can find Markham's petition here

Both petitions seek to stop the Transfer of Public Lands Act (HB148), "which demands title to 30 million acres of federal land, and the filing of 22 lawsuits claiming highway rights-of-way for thousands of miles of dirt routes, including some in our national parks."

Markham says that even in the unlikely situation that the land grab were to succeed, estimates by former Attorney General Paul Van Damm suggest that the management costs alone would exceed any revenues from the land's exploitation.

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