public lands

Judy Fahys/KUER

The rumored plans for a new national monument in southeastern Utah have prompted a state panel to call for an investigation. Members of Utah’s Constitutional Defense Council are asking the governor’s office and the attorney general to look into the organizations fighting over the proposal for the Bears Ears national monument.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Dozens of people attended a hearing at the State Capitol on Wednesday wearing t-shirts that said: “Protect Bears Ears.”

Tami Heilemann / U.S. Department of the Interior

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell delivered a kind of public-lands manifesto in Washington on Tuesday and mentioned Utah while talking about the “course correction” she envisions for the nation’s conservation strategy.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Utah lawmakers created the Constitutional Defense Council years ago to coordinate various battles with the federal government over issues like backcountry roads, a lands-transfer, and imperiled species like wolves and sage grouse.

Judy Fahys/KUER

San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman is appealing his federal conviction for organizing an ATV protest ride nearly two years ago into Recapture Canyon. He’s scrapped his lawyers and is now handling his own defense. 

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Critics of federal government gathered Saturday at the state Capitol. Like other rallies around the West, theirs was a show of support for the Oregon wildlife occupiers and anti-federal activists who remain in jail.

Jacob B. Frank / National Park Service

Utah legislators want the federal government to reimburse the state for the money it spent keeping open its national parks during the government shutdown of 2013.

KUER News

What happens if state leaders succeed in forcing the federal government to hand over control of more than 30 million acres in Utah?

Cory Dinter

Terry Tempest Williams is, for many Americans, the voice of Utah’s wildlands. A Utahn, she’s an author who took on a surprising new role this week. She and her husband, Brooke Williams, were protesting a U.S. Bureau of Land Management oil and gas auction, when they ended up buying energy rights on public land in southern Utah, some of them within sight of Arches National Park. Williams sat down with KUER’s Judy Fahys on Wednesday in the KUER studios to talk about how and why she’s become a wildcatter.

Judy Fahys/KUER

Many see Rep. Ken Ivory, R-South Jordan, as the father of the lands-transfer movement. He calls last month’s death of rancher LeVoy Finicum tragic, but he also sees what happened in Oregon as proof of how frustrated Westerners are about the federal government trampling their rights.  

KUED

Governor Gary Herbert says he’s intrigued by the prospect of suing the federal government over public lands control.

Courtesy: / U.S. Bureau of Land Management

State leaders and a congressman pledged on Friday to keep fighting Washington on behalf of rural Utah.

The governor and lieutenant governor both served on county commissions early in their careers. So it was no surprise on “Rural Legislative Day” at the State Capitol that they promised to back up local leaders on issues like boosting jobs and education. And, like them, Utah Congressman Rob Bishop said he’ll keep taking rural Utah’s side against what they call federal overreach.

Pool: Deseret News

Utah Governor Gary Herbert touted the state’s economy and recent growth in education funding during his annual State of the State speech from the Capitol on Wednesday night.

Brian Grimmett

The 2016 session of the Utah Legislature began on Monday. Listen to some of the sounds of the opening day from the State Capitol.

Judy Fahys/KUER

A comprehensive land-use proposal for eastern Utah made its public debut Wednesday -- three years after Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, began stitching together support in rural Utah between disparate user groups.

Judy Fahys/KUER

San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman’s back in federal court this week. He’s being sentenced for organizing a protest ride into Recapture Canyon last year in a case that’s often compared with the prosecution of another person who challenged authority: climate-change activist Tim DeChristopher. 

Judy Fahys/KUER

Utah’s land-transfer advocates agree it's time to get a lawsuit ready for the U.S. Supreme Court after lawyers told legislators Wednesday that solid legal arguments support the quest to take over federal lands in Utah. They say it’s unconstitutional for the federal government to control so much land in the state. “It is not an easy path,” said the leader of the legal team, New Orleans attorney George Wentz. 

Tim Peterson

Governor Gary Herbert says he might be OK with the idea of a new National Monument in Utah if it helps give the state freedom over other areas of public lands.

Judy Fahys/KUER

The popular Land and Conservation Water Fund has pumped more than $17 billion into thousands of projects nationwide in a half century. Around $171 million has gone into Utah projects like building neighborhood playgrounds, developing the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and restoring wildlife habitat.

Judy Fahys

The Utah Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands is recommending that the state get involved in San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman’s appeal of his recent conviction in federal court.

Courtesy: BLM

A new good-government group, called the Campaign for Accountability, is calling for an investigation of the nonprofit behind the lands-transfer movement and the Utah lawmaker in charge of it.

Judy Fahys

The jury trial of the four men accused of conspiring to illegally ride their ATV’s into Recapture Canyon last May began in Federal Court on Wednesday.

Troy Snow

A federal appeals court has declined to reconsider a ruling that left six Kane County roads in the control of the federal government.

The second week of the Utah Legislature is now in the books, and while it wasn’t as eventful as the first week, it definitely had its moments.

Brian Grimmett

A Utah Senate committee approved a bill today that would give the Attorney General’s office a deadline to file a lawsuit over Utah’s public lands.

Brian Grimmett/KUER

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would require the Utah Attorney General to appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court to settle the longstanding argument over who owns Utah’s public lands.

Judy Fahys/KUER

 A former top lands leader says America’s latest Sagebrush Rebellion is a danger to the nation's public-lands heritage. Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, speaking at the Outdoor Retailers trade show in Salt Lake City Thursday, urged the industry to fight back.

Judy Fahys

A federal judge has decided that San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman can afford legal counsel and will not be allowed to use a court appointed public defender. Lyman is facing charges related to his participation in a protest on federal land.

Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance

A federal appeals court judge has partially undone a lower court ruling that gave the state of Utah and Kane County rights to 12 of the 16 roads it sued the federal government to win control over.

Courtesy: / Utah Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office

A new report on the impacts of transferring public lands to the control of the state of Utah indicates it could be economically feasible.

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