At various and sundry times following the original union of the 13 former colonies, territories of the United States of America have applied for and obtained statehood. Vermont was the 14th and Hawaii was the 50th. These, and every state in between, made certain covenants, commitments and promises as a condition of statehood.
In return, the Union made commitments and promises as well. Unfortunately, Utah, after more than 100 years of statehood, waits with other Western states for the federal government to make good on one of the most fundamental of these promises.
Yet, despite the obligation to do otherwise, the federal government defiantly maintains control over 97 percent of Utah's lands. The original intent was that these lands would be disposed of, so that the revenue generated from these lands could be used to fund education and other public purposes. Certainly, the tone and tenor of this op-ed might be different if other states, particularly those east of the Mississippi, were encountering the same dilemma.