Call for a School Trust Land exchange for Utah school children

Since the designation of Bears Ears, Action Utah has been advocating for a School Trust Land Exchange. Why? Because, regardless of what happens with the national monument designation, the School Trust Lands within Bears Ears are not usable and will fail to produce money for Utah schools unless they are exchanged with more profitable lands elsewhere in the state.
Precedent for this type of exchange was set in Grand Staircase, where a land exchange in the 90’s produced a whopping $300 million for schools that is still the single largest contributor to School Trust Land Fund that schools draw up on every year. Doing a land exchange in Bears Ears has nothing to do with the controversy around monument status and is a nonpartisan issue where all Utah leaders can find common ground. All it requires is asking our leaders to trade sensitive lands captured within Bears Ears for Utah lands more suited to development.
Good news! 
Representative Chris Stewart has responded to constituent calls, saying that he does support a land exchange. Now is the time to thank him for his words and ask him to turn them into actions.

CALL TO ACTION

  • Call and email Rep. Chris Stewart to say thanks for supporting a Trust Land Exchange in Bears Ears. An exchange would be an important boon to the public school system during a teacher shortage. Ask him to press officials to make an exchange happen.
  • Not in congressional district 2? Call on your congressional representative to ask for a land exchange to make the most impact for Utah schools, regardless of the monument status of Bears Ears. Let them know that Representative Stewart has told constituents he will support a Trust Land Exchange in Bears Ears National Monument, and ask them to do the same. Our school system is already underfunded and experiencing a teacher shortage, and additional funding would help all public schools in Utah.
  • Care about SITLA lands auctions? Mark your calendar for the next auction coming up on November 15th.

Rep. Rob Bishop (Congressional District 1): 202-225-0453 (DC) // 801-625-0107 (Ogden)
Rep. Chris Stewart (Congressional District 2): 202-225-9730 (DC) // 801-364-5550 (SLC) // 435-627-1500 (St. George)
Rep. Mia Love (Congressional District 4): (202) 225-3011 (DC) // 801-996-8729 (West Jordan)

Not sure who your U.S. Representative is? Check here.

Let’s clear up a few things

  • Some leaders (like Mike Lee and San Juan County legislators) have spread false information that trading SITLA lands in Bears Ears for land in different counties will take funds away from rural schools. To the contrary, Trust Land distributions are equalized statewide regardless of the location of specific lands.
  • When you correspond with legislators please remember that Trust Lands are NOT public lands. Although the national monument is public land, small islands of Trust Lands within its boundaries aren’t public but privately owned by the Trust. Those lands must be sold, leased or invested in a way that is net beneficial to the beneficiaries of the Trust: Utah’s public school children. This is why it’s so important they be traded for spaces that aren’t sensitive or in need of protection, but rather that can command good prices as developable parcels of land.

2 thoughts on “Call for a School Trust Land exchange for Utah school children

    1. Ao glad you asked! You can also call our senators and your state representative and senator. To find out who your state reps are and what their phone number and email address are, go to le.utah.gov (the state legislative website) or enter your address at vote.utah.gov and select “Elected officials”. Contact info for our senators: Sen. Orrin Hatch (202) 224-5251 (DC) // (801) 524-4380 (SLC) // (801) 375-7881 (Provo) // (435) 634-1795 (St. George) // (801) 625-5672 (Ogden) // (435) 586-8435 (Cedar City)
      Sen. Mike Lee 202-224-5444 (DC) // 801-524-5933 (SLC) // 435-628-5514 (St. George) // 801-392-9633 (Ogden)

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