It is often said we now live in two Americas. Nowhere is that description truer than when it comes to land owned by the federal government.
In the United States east of the Rockies, the federal government owns just 4 percent of all land. But west of the Rockies, the federal government owns more than half of all land including almost two thirds of all land in Utah.
When an unelected and unaccountable bureaucracy owns and manages more than half the land in your state, that is a recipe for disaster.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Section 9 of the federal legislation that created Utah said that federally owned land within the state of Utah, “shall be sold by the United States subsequent to the admission of said state into the union.”
Similar language in enabling acts for Missouri and North Dakota were honored. Almost all of the federally owned land in those states was sold decades ago.
But Congress has not honored that promise to sell federal land in Utah or most of the west. They should. Sen. Lee is fighting to make Congress keep that promise and to mitigate the damage the federal government is inflicting on rural communities in the meantime.