Political “bait and switch” seems to be common place. Sadly, it appears to be no different with the supposed effort to take our lands back from the feds (something Defending Utah fully supports).
Claims such as “Restore local control”, “Make the Federal Government keep their promise to western states”, “It’s time for Western states to take control of federal lands within their borders”, “We believe the states can manage the lands better” are all things liberty lovers can get behind, unfortunately it is NOT what is happening with Utah’s Transfer of Public Lands Act and its associated bills and government agencies.
If you remember in our first report, we documented a few of the things coming out of Ken Ivory’s “Transfer of Public Lands Act” in this flow chart.
I hope to break down the bullet points to quickly and easily show you the attack on property rights and representative government that is happening under the guise of getting our lands back.
Looking at the Lands Transfer Act, we see other things that are concerning.
1. The pre-designation of wilderness areas in compliance with federal wilderness acts (HB 148 2013 lines 103-138)
Not only are wilderness area’s essential for Agenda 21’s vision of making as much land as possible off limits to human use, it is part of the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity Wildlands Project represented by this map used in hearings at the United States Senate.
In coordination with “high density housing”, public transportation, smart growth projects, etc., it is part of the anti-people program found in King County’s “1492” statutes and encapsulated in a statement by a Utah County planning commission staffer that “cities can expand outward, but individual’s use of rural land is limited”
2. Calls for Agenda 21 programs like sustainability (HB 148 2013 lines 172 & p. 10, Report on Utah’s Transfer of Public Lands Act, Constitutional Defense Council)
“Sustainability” is one of the vague buzzwords used by Agenda 21 supporters. It is one of those words that sounds good, but really could mean anything to anyone, so what does it mean to those who created Agenda 21 as well as the phrase? During the opening speech of the Rio summit that created Agenda 21, Under Secretary General to the United Nations, Maurice Strong said,
“Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, air-conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable. A shift is necessary which will require a vast strengthening of the multilateral system, including the United Nations.” -opening speech at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit
According to Agenda 21 proponents, your lifestyle is NOT sustainable. The eating of meat, the use of gasoline, the use of a refrigerator and air-conditioning is NOT sustainable. This is important to remember when you hear people advocate for “sustainable development”.
3. Calls for transferring control of land to environmental groups. NGOs? Radical groups? (page 10, Report on Utah’s Transfer of Public Lands Act, Constitutional Defense Council)
Much like the outcome of “Wilderness areas”, (only worse) this would take untold amounts of land out of use for most of the people of Utah. This puts the government in a position of choosing “winners and losers” in who gets to control the land we supposedly “take back” from the feds. Since we don’t know who they plan on giving the land to, anything and everything is on the table.
4. Lead to the creation of a regional bureaucracy (HB 132, 2015), the Interstate Compact on transfer of Public Lands
· The purpose of the compact is to develop political and legal mechanisms for securing the transfer –line 62 & 63
This compact (as you will see, regional government) is charged with coming up with the political and legal mechanisms for the transfer. In other words, this quasi-governmental body that is unaccountable to the voters, is in charge of coming up with the laws for the transfer.
· Each member state shall have one official representative who shall have one vote –line 93
This means that out of the twelve states involved in the “transfer”, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, Utah only has one (1) vote. ONE VOTE! One vote, even though we are told that the land is being turned over to “local” control. Giving California, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, etc more say over what happens in Utah than Utah has is NOT local control.
· Each member and associate member state agrees to perform and comply in accordance with the terms of membership of this compact –Line 97
Before even knowing what rules this unelected body will come up with, we promise to comply with those rules.
· develop and draft model uniform legislation for member states to adopt -line 176
Again they lay out their duties as an unelected/unaccountable body to make laws (of which we only have one vote in) that affect our state.
· Gives the other states in the compact the authority to enforce the terms of the compact on the other member states -lines 169-170
Not only do we have a limited voice in the matter, but we agree to let other states like California, Oregon, Washington, and New Mexico the authority to enforce (just how is not stated, but you can only imagine) the terms of the contract on the people of Utah, if we want it or not (would they need to enforce it on us if we were willing?)
· allow the compact commission to seek staff and research assistance from nonprofit organizations -line 73-74
This gives the compact the authority to hire (using tax payer funds) their friends to “consult” them on what laws to force on the rest of us. A perfect loophole to encourage cronyism and looting of the tax payers, with no accountability.
· Forced to stay in the Compact for SIX months after passing law ending membership –line 109-110
I wonder what would happen if this was a law when entering a marriage that if after one of the individuals in the marriage decided they didn’t like being beaten anymore and wanted out, that they would then be forced to stay in the relationship for an additional six months.
So after being in this unelected/unaccountable bureaucracy, we find that we no longer want to be subject to it, and we get the House to pass a law repealing it, and then the Senate and then get the Governor to sign it, we still have to subject ourselves to its rules and allow the other states to enforce its laws on us for an additional six months?
Any rational person would reject this on its face.
· Congress has to approve the compact, meaning they would approve of compact
This final provision of the compact makes any lawsuit against the feds a waste of state resources and tax payer dollars. If the feds approve of the compact, they are approving of the lands transfer. If they approve of the lands transfer, there is no need to take them to court for a transfer of lands.
5. 95% of the proceeds of the land doesn’t go to Utah, but actually goes to the Federal Government! The remainder of the funds go to government run schools, which are largely controlled by the feds through federal funding and mandates.
With this provision in the transfer of Public Lands Act, we see that the Feds would be the ones benefiting financially from the transfer, NOT the state of Utah.
The convoluted nature of the Transfer of Public Lands Act and its associated legislation reminds me of all the phony “free trade” bills. If they were really about free trade, then all they would say is “our people are free to trade with your people”, instead they are filled with courts higher than our supreme court, new laws that stifle business and a further merger into a sovereignty destroying international structure. If those that orchestrated the lands transfer legislation really wanted our lands back, we would have our lands back.
Some say “this isn’t perfect, but it’s moving us in the right direction” “one step at a time” “we have to take what we can get politically” etc. This is a common ploy to get one to support legislation that is anti-liberty. Is this the case with the Lands Transfer Act or are we actually “moving in the right direction”?
To answer why we say it is part of a concerted action to further destroy our liberty, let’s look at the record of the “movements’ most public advocate, Ken Ivory, State Representative from West Jordan.
· Sponsored HB 321, which reaffirms gun control by conforming Utah’s code to federal statutes.
· Voted for HB 384. This bill empowers Utah government to more easily transfer your seized property to the federal government without due process
· Killed legislation which would have kept Obamacare out of Utah and tried to strong arm organizations into stopping any nullification efforts
As we reported here, Ken Ivory is the instrumental reason Utah is subject to Obamacare. During the 2013 legislative session, a group of people attempted to get different legislators to introduce nullification, under the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution, of what is commonly referred to as “Obamacare”. According to insider sources, a legislator would be approached and they would agree, then word would get back that Ken Ivory was going to “help” them with the language, then nothing would happen. After this happened to several legislators, Representative Lee Perry was approached and agreed to do it, and Representative Ivory was not contacted, and the bill moved forward. It was stuck in Legislative Research until the last possible day to receive a number (HB391) with a “Constitutional note” attached, which is often a death sentence for a bill. Again, on the last day of committee hearings, the bill was heard before the House Business and Labor committee. As HB391 was brought up for consideration, Representative Jacob Anderegg (Lehi) introduced a substitute version of the bill, completely stripping it of nullification and making it about Medicaid expansion, making Representative Anderegg the chief sponsor of the bill (which is why you see his name and not Representative Perry’s on the bill). A Defending Utah contact told us that Representative Anderegg told them and Representative Perry that it was actually Ken Ivory who wrote the substitute and gave it to Representative Anderegg to introduce, once again killing legislation that would have saved Utah from all of the troubles associated with Obamacare.
Immediately following the hearing, Representative Ivory approached several individuals in support of nullifying Obamacare, wagging his finger at them, telling them that they have to stop pushing nullification, and that the legislature isn’t going to go for it because they are full of lawyers that “know” it isn’t a “real” method to stop federal overreach. His attack on nullification and those that support it reveals much of his support for the cause of liberty.
· Wrote replacement bill which has lead us to being in line with Federal Obamacare mandates
As documented above, Ken Ivory wrote the bill that replaced nullification of Obamacare with a bill addressing Medicaid expansion. Instead of being the only state in the country free of the crippling mandates of Obamacare, we are now squabbling about two plans (Healthy Utah vs. Utah cares – more Orwellian double speak on both sides) that deal with how much we are going to expand socialism. Instead of going on the offense, we are begging over the scraps of how much federally funded fascism we are going to implement.
· Legitimizes Federal overreach through support of limitless Constitutional Conventions
His introduction and support of Article V conventions year after year show his disdain for the constitution, blaming it for being ignored. Blaming the Constitution gives the overreach of the federal government credibility, essentially saying that the feds actually have the power to do what they are doing, when the clearly do not.
Admittedly, Ken ivory gives a great speech. Sadly, his actions speak louder than his words and they are clearly in favor of giving more power to the federal government. His work on the deceitfully names land transfer bills is the culmination of that work.
To understand if the lands transfer legislation is a “step in the right direction” or part of an orchestrated scheme, we have to look at where these bills have taken us and where we would be without them.
Without the Utah Transfer of Public Lands Act and associated recommendations and legislation, Utah would,
· Not be part of an unelected/unaccountable regional governing body
· Not have increased by one million tax payer dollars, which is used to buy development rights on land in perpetuity, the LeRay McCalister Conservation fund
· Not have lined the pockets of “consultants” with $12 million tax payer dollars.
· Not have the Utah Wilderness Act (more Agenda 21)
Do we have any of our lands “back”? No. Do we control more of our land? No. It is abundantly clear that we have not moved forward, but have in fact moved backwards in efforts to restore local control of the land in question.
Finally, who is “in charge” of facilitating the transfer of “public” lands? Two organizations have been charged with recommendations on the transfer of public lands. One is the Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands (which has another $25,000 in tax payer dollars to blow every year) this is a body made up of eight state legislators, a quarter of which are also a part of Envision Utah, the undisputable Agenda 21 group in Utah.
One’s a Republican the other a Democrat, so their recommendations can have the façade of bipartisanship. So far (according to the legislative website) they haven’t done much but award a $2,000,000 contract to a Louisiana law firm recommend money be allocated for different endeavors, which was given to the real power in this, the Constitutional Defense Council.
The Constitutional Defense Council. The Council is, according to its website (which predominantly displays its link to Envision Utah, at least for now), is responsible for advising the governor and formulating legal strategies to further the transfer of public lands.
Unfortunately, some of the most influential people on the board are directly tied to Envision Utah. We can see the influence of Agenda 21 in the recommendations of the CDC, from calling for (as a part of the lands transfer) a DRAMATIC increase in funding for the McCallister conservation fund, calls for sustainable development, the transfer of management of lands to environmental groups and much more.