Utah lawmakers want federal land returned to state

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Conservative Utah lawmakers want to spark a U.S. Supreme Court case that could ultimately allow states to develop resource-rich parcels of land that are now off limits where the federal government is the landlord. The lawmakers said Thursday they will attempt to trigger an avalanche of legislation in the West through the use of eminent domain, which governments use to take private property for public use. More than 60 percent of Utah is owned by the federal government, and policy makers here have long complained that federal ownership hinders their ability to generate tax revenue and adequately fund public schools. Utah spends less per student than any other state and has the nation’s largest class sizes. Legislation was introduced in the Utah House on Thursday allowing the use of eminent domain on federal land.

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