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States rising up to fight Obama land grab: Alaska, Utah file suit

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By Michelle Malkin  •  May 4, 2011 03:04 PM


Map via Frank Jacobs, Strange Maps blog/Big Think

It happened with immigration.

It happened with health care.

And now, thank goodness, it is happening with the Obama land grabs.

States are rising up to challenge federal abuses. More power to them.

I’ve been reporting on the stealth Obama land and ocean grabs for the past year now. Quick review: Last August, I told you about the “Great Outdoors Initiative” to lock up more open spaces through executive order. This came on top on top of a separate, property-usurping initiative exposed by GOP Rep. Robert Bishop and Sen. Jim DeMint earlier this spring. According to an internal, 21-page Obama administration memo, 17 energy-rich areas in 11 states have been targeted as potential federal “monuments.” The Obama War on the West is a War on Jobs that extends from land to sea based on politicized junk science by executive fiat and czar evasion. In November, I noted the expansive Interior Secretary Ken Salazar/NLCS designation. And in February, I mentioned the federal wild lands grab slipped through by Salazar during the Christmas season lame duck session.

Late last week, the state of Utah filed a lawsuit to stop the wild lands gambit:

The lawsuit challenges Salazar’s Secretarial Order 3310, which gives broad latitude to the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management to re-inventory the public lands within its purview for potential wild land characteristics.

Herbert said this upends an ongoing and successful process to designate wilderness land already in place in the state.

“This order puts in jeopardy all that work, all that effort,” he said. “It says, essentially, let’s have a do-over.”

Herbert said it would also hinder economic development in the areas in question — which could amount to “tens of millions of acres,” according to Chief Deputy Attorney General John Swallow.

Currently, 1.6 million acres in Utah have been designated as wilderness.

Herbert was joined at the news conference by Swallow, county commissioners from Uintah and Washington counties, state public lands policy coordinator John Harja and environmental adviser Ted Wilson.

There are currently wilderness designation policies and programs in place in Washington and Uintah counties and others, with other counties planning to follow. Now, Herbert said the federal government seeks to use the order to start from scratch and to do so without going through the proper channels.

“This secretarial order was created out of thin air,” Herbert said. “There was no statutory order to it. It’s counterproductive to efforts we made in good faith. This is not good for Utah, not good for America.”

Alaska is joining the challenge:

Gov. Sean Parnell is going to court against the federal government again, this time in a Utah case that challenges the Bureau of Land Management’s “Wild Lands” policy…Parnell’s office put out a press release late Friday saying Alaska would join Utah in challenging the legality of the program.

In the press release, Parnell contends the new policy would create potential costs and delays in permits for development on BLM lands and would override existing land use plans.

In Alaska, according to the motion filed by the state seeking to join Utah’s lawsuit, BLM manages more than 72 million acres — more than in any other state. Perhaps the biggest bone of contention is over the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska which falls under BLM management. But the agency also oversees mining districts and other resource development areas.

Here’s to more states rising up and unifying (unity!) against the enviro-zealots’ War on the West.

***

Via Gabriel Malor, here’s the PDF of Utah’s complaint.

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