Sagebrush Rebellion: A futile gesture in the face of Washington bureaucracy?


On Friday, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed House Bill 148, the latest volley in the long-running skirmish known as the Sagebrush Rebellion.

The bill demands the United States extinguish title to federally occupied lands — about two-thirds of the state — and transfer title to the state of Utah on or before Dec. 31, 2014. I prefer the term “occupied” to controlled or owned.

One major flaw with the bill is that it agrees ahead of time to pay the federal government 95 percent of the proceeds of any land sale to private parties. If a legal argument is to be made that the sovereign state of Utah should never have had the lands extorted from it as condition of statehood, then no tribute to the occupier is necessary.

The state’s Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel also practically throws in the towel with a legal note attached…

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