Federal Management Failed – State Asked to Step In

Lake Powell Utah
Lake Powell Utah

On May 14, 2014 in Salt Lake City Representative Ken Ivory, and Speaker of the House Becky Lockhart had a debate with Bureau of Land Management Director Pat Shea and University of Utah professor Dan McCool concerning who should manage our lands in Utah the state or the federal government.

The evening began with a poll of attendees with a 60/40 split against the statement, meaning that 60% favored federal management of public lands, no surprise in given the downtown Salt Lake City location for the debate. By the end of the debate, the split was 54/46 or a 6% swing towards Utah being best suited to manage those lands.  Utah Politico Hub

In the debate, the apologists for federal land management made it clear that they didn’t think the state of Utah was capable of managing the land within the state.

This, of course, causes one to wonder how the other forty or so states that have minimal federal land ownership manage to get by.  They insisted that when the federal government fails in its efforts of land management, it is simply because our federal government with $17 trillion in debt didn’t allocate enough money to federal land management agencies.

They also claimed that because Utah’s political system had enabled corrupt individuals to rise to power, specifically John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff, that Utah isn’t fit to manage land currently owned by the federal government.

Again, this is another stupid point.  Utah’s political system ultimately purged these corrupt players out of its system.  They are no longer in power.

Meanwhile, there is no shortage of scandal right now in the executive branch of the federal government, and no one ever resigns in shame, no one is fired, and maybe if the individual on the federal level do something really bad they are put on indefinite paid administrative leave.

Then on May 19, 2014 another story came out in the Deseret News to support the state managing their own lands.  The Deseret News reported that after 14 years the National Park Service under the Department of Interior admits that they have failed to keep the Quagga mussels out of Lake Powell.  Recreation Area Superintendent Todd Brindle made the following statements in the Deseret News article:

“We did all we could,”

“There’s no way to remove mussels from Lake Powell; no way to reverse that,” he said. “We’re going to face the lake and try to focus on boats coming out of the lake.”

The Deseret News reported that  Jordan Nielson aquatic species coordinator with the Utah Division of Wildlife  Resources stated that:

Lake Powell ran a good program and rangers did their best for 14 years to prevent the mussels from invading the lake, Nielson said, but now it’s up to Utah to protect its water.

So here we have a catastrophic failure by the federal government in managing its water resources in our state.  The result of this failure is now a huge liability for the state of Utah and its efforts to manage its water resources.  Now, after the federal government has mismanaged a resource to the point of permanent damage, now it is “up to Utah to protect its water.”

This situation at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area seems to lend credibility to the state managing their own lands.  Even the federal government admitted in this case that they did all that they could and now it is up to the state to contain the mussels and to protect the rest of Utah’s water ways and the public.

With such an acknowledgement from the federal government does this mean the states are better suited to manage their own lands?  It seems the federal government think so.


 

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