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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Throughout the current legislative session I have been corresponding with my state representative, Rep. Mike Kennedy, about public land issues in Utah. Rep. Mike Kennedy has always been very responsive and cordial. However, until recently Rep. Kennedy has not been very clear about his position towards public lands. Yet, over the weekend I received two emails from Rep. Kennedy that reveal his position to public lands.

This is from the email I received this morning.

Thanks Craig. Good point, I was not clear. The "most states own their land statement" was in fact meant to suggest that the Feds gave the State their land, and the State sold their land as they wished to private owners. I understand your perspective better now in that you wish the land to remain in the hands of the Feds so you can use it as you currently use it. I respect that position. I don't presume all the land would be sold to developers, but some of it assuredly would be. Once our State owns our land, we can begin the public conversation of how we want to use that land. I, like you, would advocate for much of it to remain as it is. I also would like some of it appropriately to be developed. Considering we are talking about over sixty percent of our land, I presume those goals can co-exist.

As to who may benefit by the use of the land, assuredly our underfunded public schools would benefit by the land being used rather than lying fallow.

Thanks for your response and dedication to our lands.

Mike
It baffles me that our representatives are so willing to sell us out.
 

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Congressman Jason Chaffetz
2236 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

February 26, 2016
Mr. Andrew XXXXXX
XXXXXXXXXXXXX Dr
XXXXXX, UT XXXXXXX

Dear Andrew:

Thank you for contacting my office regarding federal policy on public lands. I appreciate citizens, like you, who are actively engaged in government affairs. In order to properly represent Utah's Third Congressional District, I need input from constituents. It is my job as a member of Congress to represent Utah to Washington, not Washington to Utah.

The United States government owns roughly one-third of all the land in America and about half of the land in the West. We must reduce the federal estate. Individual states and localities should have far more control over what happens in their own backyard, rather than unelected Washington bureaucrats.

Again, thank you for contacting me. If there's anything I can do for you, please don't hesitate to contact my office.

Sincerely,

Jason Chaffetz
Member of Congress
Sincerely,

Jason Chaffetz
Member of Congress
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
What makes you think that your opinion is shared by the majority of the state?
First, can you explain to me where I suggested that I believe the majority of the state shares my opinion? Second, what relevance does this have to personal communications with elected representatives who hold non-statewide positions?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
That comment right there
Wrong. The context of that comment does not imply the meaning you apply to it. Context is key. Nevertheless, how is your question relevant to constituent communications with state and federal representatives who hold non-statewide positions? I hope that the majority of Utahns do share my desire to keep public lands public, but whether they do or do not is entirely irrelevant when I communicate with my state representative who does not hold a statewide seat.
 

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Throughout the current legislative session I have been corresponding with my state representative, Rep. Mike Kennedy, about public land issues in Utah. Rep. Mike Kennedy has always been very responsive and cordial. However, until recently Rep. Kennedy has not been very clear about his position towards public lands. Yet, over the weekend I received two emails from Rep. Kennedy that reveal his position to public lands.

This is from the email I received this morning.

It baffles me that our representatives are so willing to sell us out.
Good Lord! I wonder what portions they will sell?

Got any water? Sell
Timber? Sell
Minerals? Sell
Beautiful view? Sell
Near a city? Sell
Sage grouse? Sell (better you than me)
Trophy animals? Sell
Grass? Sell
 

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Why do we need developments. What makes these people think there is enough water for more people in Utah.
We need to come together and stop this. I don't care what party you are or color or religion. We need to band together. I would support SUWA on this issue and that's a big no no for me.
 

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Why do we need developments. What makes these people think there is enough water for more people in Utah.
We need to come together and stop this. I don't care what party you are or color or religion. We need to band together. I would support SUWA on this issue and that's a big no no for me.
Also, it is a detriment to the health of the Utah resident population to have another mouth breather living in the Wasatch Front.

The air will consume everyone and they should fix that first before expanding or pandering for a bigger population.
 

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Nice work Mike. Thanks for your efforts in reaching out to the lawmakers and decision makers and attempting to help them see this issue from our point of view.

The more we reach out to our representatives and let them know how we feel, the better.
 

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Mike let us know how it goes. I have met with my Rep Joel Briscoe and keep in touch with him all year. Needless to say I have a easier go of it than you.:mrgreen:
 

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Just ask the Reps how it worked for the School Sections...........
Oh ya...... they sold a big chunk of 'em to the highest bidders.
Will happen all over again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I had an informative and productive meeting with Rep. Kennedy yesterday afternoon. We spent forty-five minutes discussing public land issues. Rep. Kennedy seemed entirely forthright and genuine, and I was impressed with how much time he spent with me. I left the meeting feeling much better than I felt before the meeting, but I also left with the understanding that this will be a long process that will require many additional conversations.

We covered a lot of ground during our meeting. Here are a few of the key takeaways from the meeting.

1. If Utah obtains control of public lands some of those lands will be sold. Rep. Kennedy was very clear on this point. The only specific areas that Rep. Kennedy mentioned are the oil and gas fields of eastern Utah. Although Rep. Kennedy expressed his enjoyment the outdoors, Rep. Kennedy believes there needs to be more balance between private and public lands in Utah.

2. Rep. Kennedy's only stated reason for supporting the sale of public land was to fund public schools. He said the legislators get beat up over public education funding more than any other issue that comes before the legislature. This led to a conversation of SITLA and its history, including its history of mismanagement.

3. We discussed Utah's potential lawsuit to force the transfer of federal public lands to the state. Although it seemed we both agreed that a court, or the Court, will not require Congress to transfer public lands to Utah, we disagreed about the other possible outcome. Rep. Kennedy is under the impression that a court may require Congress to dispose of the federal lands in Utah and that "dispose of" means Congress would give the lands to Utah. I disagreed with Rep. Kennedy on this point. I disagreed that a court was likely to require Congress to dispose of the land in Utah, and I disagreed that "dispose of" means that Utah would receive the lands. Instead, I argued that "dispose of" would mean that Congress would be able to divest itself of the land, e.g. sell the land, in any manner Congress decides. This was a critical issue for Rep. Kennedy and we both agreed to do some additional research on this issue.

4. Rep. Kennedy is very concerned that if Utah does not act to gain control of public lands in Utah the future of these lands will be determined by future presidents and Congresses. On several occasions, Rep. Kennedy expressed concern that one or two new national monuments will be created in Utah this year.

5. Rep. Kennedy grew up in Michigan and does not hunt. Therefore, he is not familiar with the relationship between public lands and hunting in Utah (He had no idea Utahns hunt in the areas of oil and gas development in eastern Utah). Rep. Kennedy said that when it comes to hunting issues he relies on other legislators for information. However, he expressed a desire to find constituents who can provide information instead of relying on other legislators.

6. Rep. Kennedy said that, based on his experiences in Michigan, which is primarily private, he believed that hunting in Michigan is very popular and that a lot of the hunting takes place on public lands in upper Michigan. He asked why something similar would not work in Utah?

7. Rep. Kennedy also said that a lot of hunting in Michigan takes place on private lands and asked why this would not work in Utah? Items six and seven led to discussions about private land (parcel size), hunting on private land, the different species of big game in Michigan and Utah, and the different behaviors of these big games species. I am not an expert on these issues, but I gave it my best shot.

8. We talked about the current private lands in Utah, who owns these lands, and their relationship to hunting. Rep. Kennedy asked if Utahns are allowed hunt on these private lands, which led to a conversation about the CWMU program.

9. We talked about the legislative process and the role of constituents and special interest groups in that process. Rep. Kennedy expressed a desire for more input and involvement from his constituents.

10. Finally, Rep. Kennedy asked me what I would like to see happen with public lands in Utah. He talked about thinking in terms of 100 years. What do we want Utah to look like in 100 years because it will not be the same as it is today? This was a surprisingly difficult question for me. I answered his question the best I could, but I felt my answer was lacking.

Overall, I was impressed with Rep. Kennedy and I am hopeful. I have worked in the legislature and understand the process. I am not naive, but Rep. Kennedy is willing to listen and that gives me hope.

Let me know if you have any questions.
 

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I'm glad to hear he had an open mind. In 100 years I want public lands to afford the opportunity they afford us all today, it is really that simple. In 100 years I hope the same areas I enjoyed as a kid and adult will be enjoyed by future generations and they will not have public lands destroyed by industry with the best places being those with a "no trespassing" sign in front of them. I have too many good memories and experiences that have meant a lot to me on these public lands, losing them is not an option I even consider.
 
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