ALEC is pushing for states to pass bills claiming a right to federal lands within their borders. These are referred to as land seizure bills. There is a lot of pressure on western states to pass these bills due to the abundance of mineral resources in these areas. Idaho had three such bills introduced into the Legislature in March this year.

The motivation behind the bills is to get the rights to the natural resources both on and under the federal lands, as well stop support for public land generally. The bills are presented as benefiting the local people, but really it is the corporations extracting the resources who will benefit and their shareholders.

The idea ALEC is pushing is that the federal government land holdings are illegal. This is not supported by conventional legal interpretation with two law professors from the University of Utah stating the federal government has “absolute control over federal public lands, including the constitutional authority to retain lands in federal ownership.”

This is an issue that is not likely to go away with the future make-up of the Congress and Supreme Court determining the outcome.


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