HB 148 demands the transfer of federally controlled land to the state of Utah by 2014. The American Lands Council organized by bill sponsor Ken Ivory has asked that all municipalities in Utah voice support for the measure. Wednesday, the city council for the Southern Utah town of Enoch did just that.
City Manager Rob Dotson insisted that in the public lands compact from the 1800s the federal government promised to turn over public lands to the states after statehood is achieved.
While that has happened in most states east of the continental divide, vast portions of most western states continue to be under federal control—in Utah over 60 percent.
Federal ownership prevents states from collecting taxes and mineral rights on the lands in question. Opponents to HB 148 question how the state of Utah can afford to manage such lands when it already struggles to maintain its network of state parks.