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Letter: Western politicians should know the law

Published May 2, 2014 5:37 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

While some trumpet the idea that the blame for the Bundy crisis in Nevada lies with the "Feds," most blame lies with politicians in the West.

Two facts should be known to these leaders which should guide their actions. First, the Nevada Enabling Act of 1864 and the Utah Enabling Act of 1894 contain like language where the state, "forever disclaims all rights and title to unappropriated public land," language that clearly and specifically refers to federal lands.

Second, The Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 clearly established that the Secretary of the Interior has the authority and responsibility to administer public lands regarding all use, including grazing privileges, and establishes state and federal police powers. Essentially, both Nevada and Utah and the U.S. have policing power, but "nothing shall be construed .... as limiting or restricting the power of the United States."

Having Nevada and Utah governors and lawmakers understand these two facts could help clear up the responsibilities for the rule of law in their respective states.

Mike Legge





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