SALT LAKE CITY — A group of environmentalists, business owners and others are protesting Gov. Gary Herbert’s efforts to seize control of federal lands in Utah.
At issue is legislation signed by Herbert in March that demands the federal government relinquish control of public lands by 2014, which sets up a potential legal battle over nearly 4,700 square miles.
The Legislature was warned by its own attorneys that the push likely will be found unconstitutional. The protesters plan to deliver a petition to the governor’s office Wednesday morning in opposition to the effort.
Herbert has said Utah won’t seek to take over national parks, monuments and wilderness areas, but believes the state can manage the other public lands better than the federal government. Activists fear it will lead to degradation and more mining.