A petition with more than five thousand signatures demanding an end to Utah's attempt to take control of federal lands was delivered Wednesday to Governor Gary Herbert's office. The effort was led by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and supported by activists like Dwight Butler of Wasatch Touring. He says the federal government is taking good care of its land right now.
"The state of Utah, there's a good chance, would develop it, or sell parcels off, or divide it up," he told KUER. "I think it's the best protection we have right now and we should keep it that way."
Ally Isom, a spokesperson for Governor Herbert, says HB 148, the bill passed by the legislature earlier this year and signed by the governor, is part of a broader dialogue on the management of public land in Utah.
"The governor is simply saying to the federal government," Isom told KUER, "we'd like to have a reasonable, balanced strategy to how we manage Utah's natural resources and public lands."
Backers of House Bill 148 argue that control of Utah's public lands would allow the state to generate much higher revenue for its public schools than it now receives.