Still, the case for such a significant action should be made and weighed, with extensive public input, if for no other reason than to avoid handing a powerful political talking point to Utah's burbling secessionist movement.
Back in 1996, as he was seeking environmentalist votes, the about-to-be re-elected President Bill Clinton surprised everybody by designating the 1.9 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. That is a memory that still smarts with many Utah leaders.
And it is one of the sparks behind the measure, passed in the last session of the Utah Legislature, demanding that Washington cede some 30 million acres of federal land so that it can be sold, mined, drilled or otherwise turned to the short-term economic benefit of the state and its tax base.
Such a giant land grab has no chance of becoming reality. That territory belongs, by law and by right, to all of the American people. And no Congress will give that up.
The promise of some Utah lawmakers, supported by Gov. Gary Herbert and sadly championed by Attorney General-elect John Swallow, to pursue such folly will only cost our taxpayers money and our state much of its credibility.
A better alternative to this spiraling exchange of legal body blows exists. It is the example of the Washington County Land Bill, which brought everyone to the table and worked out an admirable compromise for the preservation and development of territory around St. George.
Of course, the two major facilitators of that deal were then-Sen. Bob Bennett, who was ousted in the next election, and Rep. Jim Matheson, who was nearly beaten last week.
Sadly, deliberation and compromise are not always rewarded in Utah politics. All the more reason why Obama, safely re-elected without Utah's help, should seek both.