Nevada Attorney General the Lone Dissenter on Western AG Analysis Rejecting Legal Arguments for “Transferring” U.S. Public Lands

Oct 4, 2016

DENVER—Following up on its story from last Friday, the Associated Press reported today the Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt was the lone Western Attorney General to disagree with a new legal analysis by the Conference of Western Attorneys General on public lands. The analysis found that the legal arguments put forward by Utah politicians to compel the U.S. government to dispose of national public lands into state hands are with little or no merit.

What’s most surprising is that Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes was not the lone dissenter. The analysis throws cold water on Utah’s legal effort to sue for control of national forests, wildlife refuges, and other public lands. Attorney General Reyes must decide whether to file the $14 million lawsuit against the U.S. government, which the Western AGs indicate would have incredibly long odds of success.

The Center for Western Priorities issued the following statement from executive director Jennifer Rokala:

“Attorney General Sean Reyes’ job is to uphold the law and provide Utah with first-rate legal advice. Utah’s legal arguments against national public lands have never stood a chance. Let’s now hope Mr. Reyes will provide Utahns, and all of us across the West, with principled leadership to finally disavow this ill-conceived attempt to seize our public lands.”

For more information, visit westernpriorities.org. To speak with an expert on public lands, contact Greg Zimmerman at 720-279-8038 or greg@westernpriorities.org.