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Interesting Use of Eminent Domain

In Utah:

Reporting from Salt Lake City – Long frustrated by Washington’s control over much of their state, Utah legislators are proposing a novel way to deal with federal land — seize it and develop it.

The Utah House of Representatives last week passed a bill allowing the state to use eminent domain to take land the federal government owns and has long protected from development.


24 Responses to “Interesting Use of Eminent Domain”

  1. workinwifdakids Says:

    OMG! *can’t. breathe*!

    My wife is looking at me like a crazy person, and I’m laughing so hard I can’t stop! Oh, sweet, delicious, beautiful irony!

  2. Mad Man Says:

    Sounds to me like the federal government may change those Eminent domain laws (in their favor, of course).

  3. John Smith Says:

    Wow, that is so dirty. I like it.

  4. Huck Says:

    “Wow, that is so dirty. I like it.”

    What’s so dirty about it? Have the feds ever cared about pissing the people off when they use eminent domain to sieze land for their use? The way I see it, since it’s in Utah, it’s UTAH’s land.

    And I like it too!

  5. TomcatsHanger Says:

    I’ve never been that happy with “public” land, be it local, state or federally owned.

    If it’s not an open to general public use park, what good does it serve?

  6. Crotalus Says:

    Kelo vs. New London bites back! Heh! Let’s see how the Feddies like it now!

  7. Jennifer Says:


  8. bob dole Says:

    Well, from the constitution it may actually even be the state’s land.

    In article 8:
    “to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;”

    This suggests that federal lands in states are under the state’s domain, and the states can take back the land so long as they pay fair market value.

  9. Ted Says:

    Good shizzy.

  10. Sigivald Says:

    Tomcats: Well, there are those “military base” thingies, which are pretty handy (and gunnery and bombing ranges, which use up much more land).

    They’re government owned, and thus notionally “public” (res publica, after all) – but they serve a very good use (and, while I’m not at all sure about Bob Dole’s interpretation, they’re certainly Constitutional for the Feds to own and operate, as he points out).

  11. B Woodman Says:

    Bob Dole,
    But if the Feds just “seized” it, and didn’t pay anything for it, especially fair market value, then I guess it’s worth what was paid for it, right? Which is to say, NOTHING!

    So, the states can seize it back, and pay the Feds exactly what was paid to the states — NOTHING.

    Ahhhhh — got’s to lurve the Law of Unintended Consequences. It bites both ways.

  12. Cargosquid Says:

    Where’s the popcorn?

  13. ATLien Says:

    maybe we can get to some of that cleaner, low-sulphur coal.

    See Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.

  14. DirtCrashr Says:


  15. Pete Says:

    I’d like to see the Feds try to take it back from Utah.

    Who are they going to send? The US Marshall service?

  16. Veeshir Says:

    I bet the states in the area are getting ideas. I know Colorado is ticked off at some of the land they’ve made off-limits to people.

  17. Oscar Says:


    They can send the U.S. Army.

    They can also federalize the Utah National
    Guard (as the FEDGOV did with the Arkansas
    National Guard to enforce Brown v. Board.)
    Oh, sweet irony!

    There may be a few National Guardsmen who
    might not play along, but after a few
    courts martial, I’m sure the process
    will smooth out considerably.

    All in all, I’d say we probably shouldn’t
    start uncorking the champagne bottles
    quite yet.

  18. workinwifdakids Says:

    Oscar, I don’t even care what the outcome is. It’s just one more place to watch the dotgov’s mouth drop open in shock and agony!

    If the feds give up the land, it’s Utah’s win. If the feds have to call up the Guard to militarily occupy land, it’s Utah’s win. Either way, this is going to be delicious.

  19. comatus Says:

    Oscar appears to be pointing out that the US Army has been dispatched, for punitive effect, to Utah before. This makes it unlike many other states.

    This is not a constitutional issue, though; the flaw lies not in our confederation, but in our Northwest Ordinance. The system of territories, and, later, homesteading, presumes a default ownership by the Federal Government which, in cases of feudal law like this one, puts DC in lieu of The King. For the Louisiana Purchase, the deed may be a true one (Spain, of course, will not agree, for reasons other than Reconquista). All Indian treaties were defaulted to federal authority. Many were not made on those terms.

  20. Mayor Joel Stoner Says:

    Oscar, no they can not send in the US Army, it is illegal to use Army forces inside the united states against citizens. The National Guard on the other hand may be used to put down uprisings against the government.

  21. Justthisguy Says:

    Comatus hast recht.

  22. TomcatsHanger Says:

    Sigivald, Military bases are not “public” land. Neither are Federal, State, or Local offices.

    I’m not sure what it is you disagree with me on.

  23. Dave R. Says:

    Sigivald, you’re just displaying your ignorance. Military bases are the least part of federal lands in western states. For a visual representation see the following:

    I don’t actually think state eminent domain will get very far, but sooner or later something will. Many easterners and even some urban westerners do not understand the depth of feeling there is over this. Public lands and environmental regulations lock up our states in a way they were never meant to be.

  24. straightarrow Says:

    Why the Hell not Dave R.? After all, high end cabins will generate more revenue to the state coffers than one prairie chicken, two sage bushes, and a prickly pear cactus. In the newly established definition of Public Use to public good through higher taxes, this is in exact accordance with the decision in Kelo v. New London and the Supreme Court has already blessed it.

    I love it. No matter which way the squirm, they will be exposed for the goddamned bandits they are. Then can we hang them?

Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.

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