Contact: Elizabeth Converse, Communications Director
Utah House Democratic Caucus
Democrats Question Stewardship of Public Lands Lawyers
Salt Lake City – Representative Joel Briscoe and Senator Jim Dabakis responded to lawyers hired by the Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands on Wednesday. The lawyers recommended the continuation of a 13 million dollar lawsuit demanding federal lands be handed over to the state of Utah. Democrats found it curious that one of the lawyers had previously commented on a similar lawsuit in Arizona, identifying it as “doomed to fail”.
Representative Briscoe said, “There is nothing bipartisan about this move. We believe in real stewardship – not sales or leases to the highest bidder. The Commission spent the last year complaining about the federal government and supporting the illegal acts of a single county commissioner. We rarely discussed what is inevitably in the best interest of the grand and beautiful landscapes we are supposed to be protecting. We should refocus the Commission on issues that will lead to a better management and preservation of all the lands in Utah.”
Senator Dabakis commented, saying “Thirteen million dollars for a lawsuit that our own experts have said is doomed to fail is a bad choice. We spend a year on this issue, spending taxpayer dollar after taxpayer dollar, but completely ignore important issues like Medicaid expansion. This is becoming a series of bad choices.”