This is an archived article that was published on in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Rep. Rob Bishop and Sen. Orrin Hatch are proposing Utah's own "land grab" to combat what they argue is economically stifling federal management of acreage in the state and across the West.

The Utah Republicans on Thursday announced introduction of the APPLE Act — Action Plan for Public Land and Education — to allow Western states to choose federal lands to sell. The proceeds would go to public education.

Urged on by the Utah Legislature, which passed a resolution last March supporting the concept, Hatch and Bishop propose giving Western states their pick of up to 5 percent of Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service lands within their borders.

"The education of our children should not be held hostage by the burdensome presence of federal land in our state," Bishop said in a written statement.

"Funding for Utah's education system has historically been hampered by the presence of a large portion of public lands owned by the federal government," Hatch added.

The BLM is the largest landlord in Utah, managing nearly 23 million acres or 42 percent of the state. Through regional plans, the federal agency makes its lands available to recreation, oil and gas drilling, mining or other uses.

Brandon Loomis