Bedke pushes for lands transfer

House Speaker Scott Bedke joined about 50 politicians from nine states Friday, to discuss ways to wrest control of public lands from federal management to state jurisdiction.


House Speaker Scott Bedke

The daylong summit meeting itself was closed to the public, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. But afterwards, Bedke joined about a dozen other elected officials to argue for a transfer.

“It’s time the states in the West come of age,” Bedke said. “We’re every bit as capable of managing the lands in our boundaries as the states east of Colorado.”

Public lands jurisdiction is a contentious issue with a K-12 education connection. Supporters of a transfer say states can better manage public lands, allowing multiple uses that would better fund education. Critics say the exorbitant cost of administration on millions of acres of public lands would exceed any new revenues from state-managed lands.

The Legislature has a committee studying the issue. Its recommendations are not due until 2015, but the 2013 Legislature already passed a resolution demanding just such a transfer.


  • Kevin S. Wilson

    On April 16, U.S. Congressman Raúl Grijalva called upon the U.S. Department of the Interior to “investigate the role of the American Legislative Exchange Council
    (ALEC) in efforts to pass bills at the state level” that undermine federal authority over state lands and thwart the agency’s duties. Specifically, Rep. Grijalva’s request stated that “ALEC’s pattern of activity raises serious questions about how changes to land management laws and regulations, especially in the Western United States, are being pushed by ALEC without public disclosure of its role or that of the corporations that fund its legislative agenda.”

    Mr. Bedke is a member of ALEC, currently serving on its Education Task Force. It is ALEC’s corporate lobbyists who being served by Mr. Bedke’s participation in this closed-door meeting in Utah, not Idaho citizens, taxpayers, and voters.

    No doubt one of the first agenda items at this meeting was to find a way around the pesky requirements of the Enabling Act of 1894, which admitted Utah into the Union with the stipulation that “the people inhabiting said proposed State do agree and declare that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public
    lands lying within the boundaries thereof; and to all lands lying within said limits owned or held by any Indian or Indian tribes . . . ” Similar language is contained in Idaho’s Constitution, in Section 19 of Article XXI.


    “Rep. Grijalva Demands Federal Investigation into ALEC’s Role in Neo-Sagebrush Rebellion”

    “Give me land, lots of land, under starry skies above”

    Idaho Constitution, Article XXI, Section 19

  • Adam Collins

    Is this another template provided to Scott Bedke by the morally-hindered executive board of ALEC? It seems that Bedke is little more than the mouthpiece of this detestable organization. The simple fact is that, if given the opportunity, Idaho would sell off, mine, or deforest every inch of federal land, and then cry to the federal government when these resources are exhausted. Idaho managing its forests is like an infant flying an airplane. Our current batch of elected officials lacks the foresight, knowledege, and maturity to properly manage federal lands, and the state of Idaho lacks the money to do so anyways. Once again, this is a fool’s errand that serves to allow elected officials talking points over an issue they know they can never win. Why not focus your limited attention on the greatest needs of this state, starting with the deplorable state of funding for the public education system?