Environmentalist: ‘Let’s Boot Utah from the Union’

Freelance writer Ty Hansen, who hails from Pennsylvania, pens a screed lecturing Rob Bishop and Ken Ivory on how public lands should be managed in Utah. Hansen knows best, you see, because he’s “an avid outdoorsman and skier.” Hansen says if Utah leaders don’t obey his directives, the Beehive State should be kicked out of the Union (minus its federally-owned land, of course).

Writes Hansen at Hatch Magazine:

The bulk of the Utah federal delegation comes at politics from the extreme far-right, investing energy into everything from defunding Planned Parenthood, banning gay marriage and impeaching the president—you know, those vital social issues so important to the vocal minority but so obviously petty and fear-based as to make the average American squirm at the notion that these issues are worthy of debate and Congressional resources.


So here’s an idea. Let’s just get rid of Utah. Kick ‘em out. Utah’s lawmakers want no federal oversight in their state, so much so that they demanded that federal lands be turned over to the state government for management. That’s not going to happen. But we can give Utah the next best thing: its independence.


But we’re keeping our public land.


This is land that belongs just as much to the little kid fishing a farm pond in Ohio as it does to Ken Ivory or Rob Bishop. Seizing public lands and then, presumably, reaping rewards from their mineral production or (more likely) their outright sale is likely illegal. The landlords—of which, if you’re a U.S. citizen, you are one—will not allow it.


But if Utah’s lawmakers want the feds out of Utah, so be it. We’ll take our commonly held real estate, all the funds the government invests in rural communities as payment in lieu of taxes, highway funds, school funds, infrastructure funds and leave the rest of Utah to its citizens and the lawmakers they chose to represent them. That amounted to about $23.5 billion in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.


Here’s what Utah would look like without its federal footprint. And Utahns are welcome to it.