Action Utah members asked for a Trust Land Exchange and we got one in the form of Rep. Chris Stewart’s ACE Act which has just unanimously passed the House and has the support of many groups including the Wilderness Society.
Like a similar ACE Act from the ’90s, this bill allows school trust land parcels that are sensitive to be traded for other parcels more suited for development in order to protect those sensitive parcels and also generate more income for Utah’s public schools from more lucrative parcels.
While our intention in pushing the bill was to generate compromise around Bears Ears, the bill also has room to be broadly interpreted and can include land that has “wilderness characteristics,” so not only sensitive land within National Monuments or Parks can be traded, but also land adjacent to the areas that so many Utahns want to protect. This is a terrific added bonus!
WHAT YOU CAN DO
1) Call Senator Mike Lee and Senator Orrin Hatch and ask them to support Rep. Stewart’s ACE Act (HR4257) because it is an important bipartisan bill that serves both conservation and education.
2) Call Governor Gary Herbert and let him know you support Chris Stewart’s ACE Act (HR4257) and that you hope state officials will broadly interpret the bill to trade as many sensitive parcels as they can to ensure adequate conservation of Utah land AND the productive use of all school trust lands.
3) CD-2 Constituents: Call Chris Stewart and tell him thanks for running the ACE Act, but that you are still worried. With mining contracts in the works in the recently-reduced national monuments, Utahns in CD2 are worried about whether state officials will actually trade sensitive lands or lease them to environmentally harmful mining operations. You can mention that his opponent, Shireen Ghorbani cares about conservation and as you make your choice this November, you want to know what the next steps are for conservation under ACE knowing that she too supports using a Trust Land Exchange to protect Utah’s land and effectively fund education.