Utah League of Cities and Towns

Making Life BETTER

Senator Mike Lee (R) – Bill Issues June 2012

Please describe a bill or an issue you are working on that directly impacts Utah’s cities and towns. (June 2012)

There are few things that frustrate Utah’s local leaders more than the policy around the use of federal land. I agree with their frustrations, which is why I recently introduced the Federal Land Designation Requirements Act of 2012. The bill would limit the federal government’s power to make a variety of land designations, including national monuments, national parks, and national recreation areas. Washington would be required to gain the approval of the appropriate state legislature before any federal land designation could be made.

Federal and state authority must be balanced if we are to have successful land use policies. Too often, the federal government disregards the people’s right to determine for themselves how to best utilize their own land. States with smaller populations, like Utah, end up with only a limited voice in Congress. The process should include greater protections for states and local communities against unwanted and often economically damaging decisions.

Requiring the federal government and state governments to agree on proper land designation balances the interests of all involved without interfering with the responsible maintenance of areas that truly deserve protection. In this way, states will be able to act as a check on overzealous federal bureaucrats. Our system of checks and balances is effective in many ways, and land designation should be added to the list.