PHC Co-Founder Rep. Ken Sumsion, a recent candidate for Utah’s governor, explains how the battle with the federal government for public lands in the western states has encroached on these states’ sovereignty and economy. Ken explains his charge:
I am committed to engaging in legal action against the federal government to adjudicate Utah’s Enabling Act (the Enabling Act is the contract between the United States of America and the State of Utah entered into at the time of statehood). The federal government has denied the citizens of Utah substantial access to the majority of our own natural resources. It is long past time we passionately pursue all legal remedies to the violation of the terms of our statehood.
Success on this front will create thousands of jobs; ensure future energy prices will be among the lowest in the country, and provide billions of dollars to our Education Trust Fund – all while eliminating our state income tax.
Two examples illustrating the magnitude of the natural resources in Utah, and the cost to you and me for continuing to allow the federal government to meddle in our affairs:
Since 2009, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has pulled 77 oil leases, following several years of environmentalist pressure. It is estimated that this denial of access to our lands will cost Utah’s School Trust Fund $140 million, and cost another $720 million in General Fund dollars over a ten year period. The Kaiparowits Plateau, located in the 1.9 million acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, contains an estimated 62 billion short tons of coal with a conservative value of $1 trillion (as coal). This translates to a minimum of $50 billion for Utah’s School Trust Fund – a windfall for our children’s education.
And that’s just two examples of the vast natural resources of Utah – resources that the citizens should control, which have the potential to revolutionize our economy. During the 2010 legislative session Rep. Chris Herrod and I passed two companion bills referred to as the Eminent Domain of Federal Property legislation. This effort initiated a legal action with the federal government over our public lands. We will sponsor additional legislation in the 2012 session to continue this effort. The intent is to adjudicate the State of Utah’s Enabling Act, particularly Section 9, wherein the federal government agreed to sell these lands and pay 5% of the proceeds to our Educational Fund.
The potential financial impact to the State of Utah and our children’s education – possibly trillions of dollars – is truly astounding. This is the future of Utah. Thousands of jobs will be created. Education funding will be completely changed. State income tax will be eliminated. Energy costs will be maintained or reduced.
As a Founder of the Patrick Henry Caucus, Ken is committed to fight for public lands with thousands of citizens across the nation…STATES FIGHTING BACK!