SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (KRNV & MyNews4.com) - A new effort is underway for states to possibly gain title rights to federal public land. Lawmakers from, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Wyoming and Utah and Washington D.C. gathered in Salt Lake City, Utah for "The Legislative Summit on the Transfer of Public Lands."
The coalition of law makers believes states are better prepared to manage public land both environmentally, and economically. The summit included at least 6 Nevada lawmakers, who were not available for comment Monday.
The summit comes on the heels of rancher Cliven Bundy's battle with the Bureau of Land Management, but the call to action started before guns were drawn in Nevada.
“This is bigger than one rancher in Clark County, Nevada,” says Utah Representative, Ken Ivory. “This is bigger than Bundy.”
Ivory co-organized the summit and he's sponsoring Utah's 2012 Transfer of Public Lands Act, which sets the stage to demand the federal government to transfer public land titles to the states by threat of legal action.
He points to the first line of the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934, which states the Secretary of the Interior has authority to “promote the highest use of the public lands pending its final disposal."
“Pending” being the key word.
"We’re simply working to compel our federal governing partner to simply honor the promise, honor the commitment, that goes back even before our statehood, to all of these other states,” says Ivory. “Because it was only ever supposed to be a trustee to hold the lands, pending statehood, and dispose of them.”
The BLM, in his opinion, is out of date and doing a poor job of managing public land. He says the states can and will do a better job he says.
"The states that already manage millions of acres of public land manage them profitably while the federal government manages them at a lost. So we certainly can't afford to do it the way the federal government does it. But the states can't afford to not manage the public lands in the manner that states already traditionally and do manage public lands now. "
Ivory says law makers who attended the summit are moving forward to form an executive committee to develop a strategic plan compelling congress to transfer title to public land.
They plan on forming subcommittees with a senate, house, and local lawmaker in each state.