Posts Tagged closed roads

Appeals Court ‘Emasculates’ Kane County Officials

OffroadingApparently the Kane County Commissioners have become eunuchs thanks to the Court of Appeals in Denver, at least according to the commission chairman. The court has ruled in favor of environmentalists who had sued over whether Kane County could reopen roads that were closed by the federal government.

. . it’s a huge blow to Kane County officials, who touched off the court battle six years ago by taking down federal road signs and putting up their own citing Revised Statute 2477, which they claim gives them an exception. Essentially the court ruled: If it’s federal land, federal law prevails. [snip]

“I’m mad as hell, John! You know, they’ve basically emasculated anybody in any county in the western United States on managing any road system,” said Dan Hulet, chairman of the Kane County Commission. “I think it solidifies the Sagebrush Rebellion, not just in the state of Utah, but throughout the West.”

Utah’s new governor Gary Herbert is sympathetic to the anti-environmentalists. From a 2007 LA Times story:

But Utah Lt. Gov. Gary R. Herbert said in an interview that the state had endured an “erosion of rights.”

“We’re not going to sit back anymore, we’re going to be proactive, we are going to protect our rights,” he said.

State Rep. Mike Noel, a Republican from the southern community of Kanab, said: It gets down to “sovereignty and autonomy. It’s Western independence. We own the water, we have the right to graze, the minerals are still available, and the roads belong to us. By dang, we are not going to give them up.”

Kane County is not taking this ruling lying down. There is a suggestion they may appeal to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, the law has been affirmed. And now we will see if these laws are as vigorously enforced as say, disrupting a mineral rights auction.

Photo credit: A driver defies the law in Recapture Canyon, Utah.

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