Time for Western AGs to publicly oppose land transfer

recently disclosed Conference of Western Attorneys General report concludes that lawsuits by states attempting to force the transfer of federal public land to states stands little chance of succeeding in the courts based on previous court cases and rulings.

The reports of the analysis reveal an incredibly thorough legal repudiation of the land transfer movement’s arguments for their public land seizure agenda. Lawyers from both Democratic and Republican Attorneys General offices across the west have spoken loud and clear: The land transfer legal arguments are weak, and stand little to no chance of succeeding in the courts. Now it’s time for those attorneys general to say to the public what they’re willing to say behind closed doors: That seizing and selling national public lands is not legally viable.

In August 2014, CWAG formed a subcommittee to examine the legal theories being put forward to support the claim that, as its recent report puts it, the “federal government was legally obligated to sell or transfer the public lands within a given state to that state.” For nearly two years, a team of attorneys from the AG offices in all of the eleven western states except California, plus Alaska, examined the issues. They produced a 48-page report that was adopted by CWAG by a vote of 11-1.

The CWAG’s report dispels claims being made by proponents of the land seizure movement that the United States is legally obligated to transfer public lands to the states. CWAG is composed of the top lawyers for all of the western states with significant amounts of public lands within their borders.

The report’s basic conclusion, although sometimes couched with cautious legal hedging, is clear – Any such claims are weak at best and stand little to no chance of succeeding in the courts based on previous court cases and rulings.

Join the effort to strengthen the American West.