Fed up with federal ownership of more than half the land in Utah, Republican Gov. Gary Herbert on Saturday authorized the use of eminent domain to take some of the U.S. government's most valuable parcels.
Herbert signed a pair of bills into law that supporters hope will trigger a flood of similar legislation throughout the West, where lawmakers contend that federal ownership restricts economic development in an energy-rich part of the country.
...Initially, the state would target three areas for the use of eminent domain, including the Kaiparowits plateau in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which is home to large coal reserves.
Many people in Utah are still angry that then-President Bill Clinton's designated the area as a national monument in 1996, a move that stopped development on the land and greatly pleased environmentalists as he ran for re-election.
The Grand Staircase nationalization was actually a payoff to the Red Chinese because after Escalante couldn't be developed, the PRC wound up with the largest comparable-coal deposits in the world.
As we know, Red Chinese money (laundered, of course) rescued Clinton's bid for the Presidency early in his primary campaign.
Anyhoo, Utah expects a court fight soon.