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Approve Land Swap Bill


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With the election season moving into full-swing, Congress won't be spending a lot of time on legislation. One measure KSL hopes they approve, though, before time runs out is the Utah Recreational Land Exchange Act.

Essentially, it is a land swap deal between Uncle Sam and the State of Utah. Some 40,000 acres managed by the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration would be traded for about the same amount of acreage managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

The land the state would be trading is prime scenic and recreational land along the Colorado River corridor and in the Book Cliffs area. But it is of lesser value to the state as is since it is found in trust land parcels, scattered checkerboard fashion amid federal land.

In return, Utah would receive federal land in Uintah County that is contiguous and could, for example, be leased for oil and gas development. That, in turn, would generate revenue for Utah's public schools.

Unlike past ill-fated versions of the same measure, this one has broad support from a diverse group of stakeholders, including environmentalists. In KSL's view, Congress shouldn't allow a constricted calendar to prevent passage of this important measure. It ought to be moved to the top of the list.

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