The RS2477 Threat

Lands at Risk

Threats to
Private Property



Act Now!




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Utah | Wyoming



Read more about the April 9, 2003 Controversial Road Agreement a Public Lands Giveaway.

The Interior Department and the State of Utah are trying -- with little luck -- to implement the agreement. Read more.  And learn how they are trying to spread the agreement to other states.

  • Read the Utah-Department of the Interior's giveaway agreement

  • And read (with caution) DOI's propaganda touting the MOU including the agency's press release  and Secretary Norton's talking points (obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests).

  • Read BLM's June 25, 2003, guidance on the MOU, which fails to clarify the standards that will be used to address whether a 'constructed highway' exists, and which limit public comment and appeals

  • Senator Joe Lieberman responded publicly to the agreement

  • Read a Fact Sheet that debunks Department of the Interior 'spin' on the Agreement

  • Read a letter from 87 members of Congress criticizing the use of the disclaimer rule to grant bogus right-of-way claims, the very mechanism the Utah-Interior agreement proposes to use

  • Read a letter from US Senator Jeff Bingaman questioning the legality of the Utah agreement and the 'disclaimer rule' on which it is based

  • Read an editorial from the Salt Lake Tribune opposing the agreement

  • Read a letter from Republican Colorado Governor Bill Owens blasting the Utah-Interior deal as "accomplished in secret, closed door meetings with no public process whatsoever."

  • Utah is now pressing its first 20 claims to "constructed highways" under the Memorandum of Understanding.

  • Check in regularly at BLM's site to see what information they have about pending right-of-way claim applications.

  • The Salt Lake Tribune published a November 3, 2003 article about the Bush Administration's plans to surrender roads inside the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

  • The Provo Herald published an article December 9,2003, about the state of Utah's plans to begin pressing claims for RS 2477 "highways" early in 2004.

  • Conservationists have urged the Interior Department to protect wild places and use strict standards if the agency chooses to implement the illegal MOU. Read the January 12, 2004, letter.

  • The State of Utah submitted its first application for disclaimer on January 14, 2004, calling the MOU process a "practical, fact-based method for resolving these long-disputed issues relating to many" of Utah's claims. But at the same time, the Governor's lawyers continued to refuse to allow the public access to any documents about any claims (including their first application) and continued to threaten to sue the Interior Department over any and every RS 2477 among the 15,000 it identified on maps three years ago. Read the Utah Attorney General's January 12, 2004 letter stonewalling the public (and insulting former Gov. Mike Leavitt to boot). Utah posted a press release on its website ballyhooing their submission of their first road claim. The story was also covered by the Associated Press and the Salt Lake Deseret News.

  • Utah filed its first claim under the illegal disclaimer rule in January 2004--read excerpts from Utah's application.

  • The General Accounting Office issued a legal opinion on February 6, 2004, concluding that the Utah-DOI agreement violates a Congressional moratorium on rulemaking under R.S. 2477 and therefore is illegal. Read the cover letter and the opinion. Rep. Mark Udall issued a statement on February 10, 2004, stating that the GAO's analysis proves the Bush Administration should abandon its illegal plans, and work with Congress on balanced legislation. Read Udall's statement.

  • Apparently unable to stomach even the minimal public oversight permitted by the memorandum-of-understanding process, the Utah Attorney General hinted that Utah was ready to abandon the MOU and proceed to court to claim thousands of wash bottoms, foot trails, cattle tracks, and jeep trails as "constructed highways." Read the Salt Lake Tribune's May 20,2004, story and a May 25, 2004, story from Greenwire.

  • In a win for open government, the Utah State Records Committee voted 6-0 to require the Attorney General to release its records on the first 20 routes that the state intends to claim under the defective MOU. The AG had sought to keep secret the publicly paid for information about alleged public highways over public lands. Read the Salt Lake Tribune's May 21, 2004, article.


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