Western lawmakers gather in Utah to talk federal land takeover

‘It’s time’ Lawmakers from 9 states gather in Utah, discuss ways to take control of federal lands.

Kristen Moulton
The Salt Lake Tribune

It’s time for Western states to take control of federal lands within their borders, lawmakers and county commissioners from Western states said at Utah’s Capitol on Friday.

More than 50 political leaders from nine states convened for the first time to talk about their joint goal: wresting control of oil-, timber -and mineral-rich lands away from the feds.

“It’s simply time,” said Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, who organized the Legislative Summit on the Transfer for Public Lands along with Montana state Sen. Jennifer Fielder. “The urgency is now.”

Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, was flanked by a dozen participants, including her counterparts from Idaho and Montana, during a press conference after the daylong closed-door summit. U.S. Sen. Mike Lee addressed the group over lunch, Ivory said. New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington also were represented.

The summit was in the works before this month’s tense standoff between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management over cattle grazing, Lockhart said.

“What’s happened in Nevada is really just a symptom of a much larger problem,” Lockhart said…



The article continues at The Salt Lake Tribune.



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MSNBC host Chris Hayes clashed with a Republican state assemblywoman over the Nevada ranch standoff on his program Friday night, as supporters of Cliven Bundy celebrated with a barbecue after forcing the Bureau of Land Management to abort their mission last week.

Nevada Republican Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, who repeatedly rejected the federal government using arms to collect an “unpaid bill” and alleged there is “very suspicious activity” that Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid “has imposed on Nevadans,” refused to concede to Hayes that Bundy is in fact in violation of the law…



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…“At that point the federal government could’ve won,” Napolitano said. “But instead of docketing the judgement, instead of taking that piece of paper and filing it in the courthouse and waiting for Mr. Bundy to pass the property on to someone else … it decided to use brute force to enforce its judgement, and that’s when the entire dynamic turned around.”…



Democrat leader reaped $1.1 million from sale of land he didn’t own

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid collected a $1.1 million windfall on a Las Vegas land sale even though he hadn’t personally owned the property for three years, property deeds show.

In the process, Reid did not disclose to Congress an earlier sale in which he transferred his land to a company created by a friend and took a financial stake in that company, according to records and interviews.

The Nevada Democrat’s deal was engineered by Jay Brown, a longtime friend and former casino lawyer whose name surfaced in a major political bribery trial this summer and in other prior organized crime investigations. He’s never been charged with wrongdoing — except for a 1981 federal securities complaint that was settled out of court.

Land deeds obtained by The Associated Press during a review of Reid’s business dealings show…



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