Utah Hopes to Send Message With Eminent Domain Bills

Utah Governor Gary Herbert has approved two eminent domain bills that seek to give the state rights to seize property now owned by the federal government. Officials concede the fight will be hard to win.

Lawmakers are pushing the bills in an effort to convince the federal government to turn over some of its land holdings for the state to use for economic development projects. The state acknowledges that the move has little chance of success, but hopes that it will send a message to the federal government to rethink how it controls public land in the Western U.S.

"But Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and other Republicans say the case is still worth fighting, since the state could reap millions of dollars for state schools each year if it wins.

More than 60 percent of Utah is owned by the U.S. government, and policy makers here have long complained that federal ownership hinders their ability to generate tax revenue and adequately fund public schools. "

Full Story: Guv approves use of eminent domain to take federal land

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