When Utah first entered the Union, a ratified agreement called the Utah Enabling Act stipulated that “public lands lying within said State… shall be sold by the United States subsequent to the admission of said State into the Union.” Unfortunately, the federal government has not held up its end of the bargain and has retained vast amounts of Utah acreage limiting Utahns' ability to maintain, conserve, recreate, and responsibly produce on the lands within their own state.
Senator Lee believes much of this land should be transferred to the state as promised so that Utah’s natural resources can be better managed to conserve the land, provide for the state’s constituents, and serve its multi-use purposes. Utah has a great track record of responsibly managing public lands and caring for its environment, while ensuring economic prosperity for its communities, families, and industries dependent on access to the land, like agriculture, energy, and outdoor recreation.
As Utah’s population grows, access to the land will become even more urgent and necessary. Some will need to accommodate affordable housing, roads to ease congestion, schools, etc; other acreage that contains critical minerals and energy sources will need to be responsibly and safely tapped; and finally, others will need to be preserved for fishing, hunting, climbing, and other outdoor sports that bring families together and are simply a way of life in the west.
Additionally, Senator Lee believes the federal government should not pick winners and losers in the energy sector or agriculture sector and that the free market and the demands of the public will result in the most efficient use of funds, reliable supply of energy to fuel the country and food to feed our population, and innovative solutions to keep our environment clean and food supply safe. But again, safe, responsible, and reliable access to the land is necessary to accomplish this.