Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Utah Land Protection Act - 2012

The Utah Lands Protection Act (2012) – Rep. Fred Cox

Redefines "Sovereign lands" to include those lands:

owned by the state by virtue of its sovereignty; including land previously claimed by the federal government that is:

claimed by the state through judgment, decree, purchase, compact, exchange, gift, other conveyance, the United States Constitution, or other law;

reclaimed by the state through judgment, decree, purchase, compact, exchange, gift, other conveyance, the United States Constitution, or other law; or

obtained by the state through judgment, decree, purchase, compact, exchange, gift, other conveyance, the United States Constitution, or other law.

"Sovereign lands" does not include property owned by the federal government in accordance with the United States Constitution Article I, Section 8, Clause 17, or trust lands,

If any United States public lands owned or claimed by the federal government on January 1, 2012 become sovereign lands, then the State School Fund, pursuant to Utah Constitution shall receive 5% of the net proceeds from the sale of those lands.

If any of the following become sovereign lands, the division may not sell the sovereign lands or substantially change the management policies that relate to those sovereign lands from the management policies that were in effect for those sovereign lands on January 1, 2012:

(a) Arches National Park;

(b) Bryce Canyon National Park;

(c) Canyonlands National Park;

(d) Capitol Reef National Park; or

(e) Zion National Park.

Utah Land
The principle behind the bill is that under the US Constitution, Art. 1, Sec. 8, Clause 17, and the 10th amendment, the Federal Government can not exercise exclusive jurisdiction or own land in Utah, unless it is for Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings, and it was purchased by the Consent of the Utah Legislature. Clearly the 2/3 of the land in Utah "claimed" by the Federal Government does not fit within this constitutional power.

My contention is that Congress, the President, the US Supreme Court do NOT have constitutional authority to exercise exclusive jurisdiction or own land in Utah, and that the Utah Enabling Act, Sec 3, 4th paragraph and the Utah Constitution Article 3, section 2, be declared void ab initio, which means "to be treated as invalid from the outset," based on US Constitution Art. 1, Sec. 8, Clause 17 and the 10th amendment. As a State, the land should be Utah's
based on "equal footing" with the original 13 States.

Even if that Utah Enabling Act section be determined to be US Constitutional, the Federal Government promised in that agreement to sell the 2/3 of Utah, and not to keep it. They officially violated that agreement with FLIPMA in 1976, leaving Utah and not the Federal Government, jurisdiction and the owner of 2/3 of the land.

Also, the U.S. Supreme Court, decided in 1987
Utah Div. of State Lands v. United States, 482 U.S. 193 (1987)

After the Federal Government, in 1976, issued oil and gas leases for lands underlying Utah Lake, a navigable body of water located in Utah, the State brought suit in Federal District Court for injunctive relief and a declaratory judgment that it, rather than the United States, had title to the lakebed under the equal footing doctrine. Under that doctrine, the United States holds the lands under navigable waters in the Territories in trust for the future States, and, absent a prior conveyance by the Federal Government to third parties, a State acquires title to such lands upon entering the Union on an "equal footing" with the original 13 States. The Utah Enabling Act of 1894 provided that Utah was to be so admitted.

Held: Title to Utah Lake's bed passed to Utah under the equal footing doctrine upon Utah's admission to the Union.


It is time the Federal Government recognize Utah is a State and not a Territory.

For a draft copy of my bill see:

For an article about the bill and protecting our land, see:

Additional information:
The framework for sovereign land management is found in the Utah Constitution (Article XX), state statute (primarily Chapter 65A-10), and administrative rule (R652). Article XX of the Utah Constitution accepts sovereign lands to be held in trust for the people and managed for the purposes for which the lands were acquired. Section 65A-2-1 of the Utah Code provides: “The division [of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, FFSL] shall administer state lands under comprehensive land management programs using multiple-use, sustained-yield principles.”

Utah Lake example:
Although sovereign land planning and management responsibilities lie with FFSL, other divisions of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) also have management responsibilities for resources on and around Utah Lake. The Division of Wildlife Resources, for example, has plenary authority for managing wildlife in, on and around the lake. The Division of Parks and Recreation manages Utah Lake State Park and coordinates search and rescue and boating enforcement on the lake. The Division of Water Rights regulates the diversion and use of lake and tributary waters. The Division of Water Resources conducts studies, investigations and plans for water use. DNR divisions also regulate mineral extraction activities, conduct hydrologic research and identify and map geologic hazards around the lake.