The Utah State Legislature Wants to Squander Money Utah Citizens Cannot Afford
In a shocking article published by the Salt Lake Tribune this week, it was reported that the Utah state legislature has decided to squander $3 million on a frivolous “message” lawsuit against the Federal Government. This irresponsible and reprehensible behavior by our elected state lawmakers comes at a critical time when citizens in our state are struggling to get through this tough economy, and when my students and their parents are struggling to pay tuition here at the University of Utah. With these actions, our state legislature is in breach of its oath to serve the people of Utah. Just watching the Utah state legislature in action, submitting meaningless measure after meaningless measure gives new meaning to the term, “arrested development.” They exhibit a level of immaturity commensurate with adolescents who never emotionally left high school.
The following statement, made by Representative Ken Ivory, a Republican from the Salt Lake Valley community of West Jordan, has the vision of a piece of chewed bubblegum. “It’s been 116 years that we’ve waited. We can’t wait any longer. Our children can’t wait any longer.” He says they can’t wait any longer because Utah ranks toward the bottom nationally in student funding, and he and his Republican lawmaker friends in this state clown car, want to sell off public land in order to fund this state’s broken education system. So rather than being fiscally responsible with current state funds, he wants to spend $3 million on a “message lawsuit” that is without merit on any count. Message lawsuits are those our state legislators know very well won’t succeed. They are ready to squander $3 million to send a message to President Obama and our Congress.
Legislators Want Control of Land They Have Already Mismanaged
Here is what these state legislators want to do: They want Congress to simply hand over title to lands currently owned by the federal government before the end of 2014. This is where their adolescent reasoning comes into the picture. If President Obama and the Congress say no, the bill would put aside at least $3 million to start litigation forcing the U. S. government to simply give ownership of the land to Utah. With growing mercury contamination of state waters, and an epidemic of dangerous toxic air, these legislators can’t even take care of and responsibly manage the state land already in their care. And yet, like children, they want more.
American Fork Republican State Representative Ken Sumsion said, “What we want and demand as a state is control of these lands… We can manage them, we can determine which ones would be sold, which we can keep to preserve some of the beautiful areas of our state … that we’d like to preserve for generations.” This is a lie and he knows it. What they really want is control of land they could ultimately sell off to their energy developer buddies to make up for current fiscal incompetence.
Not Everyone In Utah Lacks Mature Judgment
According to the Tribune piece, “…Peter Metcalf, CEO of Utah-based Black Diamond Equipment, blasted the proposal, saying it is “demented and an insult to all Utahns. That’s just an absolutely ridiculous, egregious and stupid” proposal…” Public lands have made the state a magnet for outdoor recreation, generating billions of dollars. But Utah has proven unable to manage its state parks, he said, so there is no reason to think the federal lands would be different.
“It’s one of those things where the Legislature is engaged in acts of stupidity to make a point,” he said. “They would be terrible stewards of these lands. … [The lands would be] mortgaged for the benefit of a few large corporations and the losers would be the general public.”
Rep. Chris Herrod, R-Provo, who is running for U.S. Senate, said his goal is to give the Attorney General’s Office as many weapons as possible to try to reverse the abuses Utah has suffered at federal hands. “If there’s any state in the nation that has had more undue influence exerted on it,” Herrod said, “it’s the state of Utah.” The only abuse our state and federal lands in the state of Utah have suffered has come at the hands of incompetent state legislators who are hell-bent on destroying Utah’s natural resources for profit.
Federal Lands In Southern Utah Are Not For Sale
Our planet and its environment is not, and should not, be made a matter of politics or religion. It is our home that is at stake. And those who already cannot understand what is involved with its management, should get out of government as soon as possible. It should be in the economic interest of our state government to conserve energy, clean up the toxic air and begin measures to change energy production sources in order to back away from the release of mercury and other contaminants into the environment. Because once people understand the critical nature of our state environmental pollution, and the risks of living and doing business here, the Chamber of Commerce can kiss potential businesses a very fond goodbye.