Utah’s Insanely Expensive Plan To Seize Public Lands

Posted by Mike Confino, December 3, 2014

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A study released Monday by researchers at three Utah universities found that transferring national forests and other public lands to the state of Utah would cost taxpayers at least $280 million per year — a price tag that could only be paid if the state were able to increase drilling and mining, seize energy royalty payments that are owed to U.S. taxpayers, and, if energy prices remain low, raise taxes to pay for the shortfall.

The study fulfills a requirement of a 2012 Utah bill mandating the transfer of over 31 million acres of America’s public lands to the state of Utah. The study found that in order to raise the needed funds to manage national forests and other public lands, including taking over responsibility for fighting wildfires, the state would need to pursue “an aggressive approach to managing its mineral lease program,” that would only “be profitable for the state if oil and gas prices remain stable and high.”

via Utah’s Insanely Expensive Plan To Seize Public Lands | ThinkProgress.

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