Utah Lawmaker Tries to Gouge Taxpayers to Fund Anti-Public Lands Group

American Lands Council Wants to Pickpocket Taxpayers In Order to Push Anti-Public Lands Agenda 

Controversial Utah State Representative Phil Lyman has placed an appropriations request with the Utah state legislature for the American Lands Council, an anti-public lands front group that has pushed for the wholesale transfer of federal public lands to state and local governments – a precursor to their ‘real solution’ of privatization. 

“It’s no surprise that this unpopular fringe anti-public lands cohort is back at the taxpayer trough begging for public funds. This group is again trying to fuel their extremist agenda, which has been resoundingly rejected both legally and by popular opinion, on the taxpayer dime,” said Jayson O’Neill, Deputy Director of Western Values Project. “Utahans would be better served if Rep. Phil Lyman and other legislators focused on the state’s public lands and outdoor heritage which generates over $12 billion in consumer spending and supports 110,000 jobs instead of considering appropriating public funds to a group whose goal is to privatize these very lands.” 

Utah Representative Phil Lyman made the appropriations request for an unknown amount on behalf of the American Lands Council (ALC). The ALC was originally created by Utah Legislator Ken Ivory to use “political persuasion, legislation, and litigation” to eliminate federal public lands. 

The group’s extremist efforts were recently touted at a highbrow official Interior event. Myron Ebell — a prominent anti-public lands zealot and climate change denier — spoke at the event, saying that “the real solution” sought by ALC for federal public lands was to “privatize” them. Recently acquired video from Western Values Project — an Accountable.US project based in Montana, defending America’s public lands — showcased the unprecedented call to action. 

For his part, Ivory left the Utah state legislature in August 2019, to take a job at a Silicon Slopes company called Geomancer, a corporation that he previously helped secure $700,000 in taxpayer funds for his own pet project. 

Aside from taxpayer dollar pleas, ALC is also backed by Koch industry dollars. The front group is also uplifted by anti-public land extremists on both the state and federal level. In October 2019, Jennifer Fielder, the new CEO of the group, appeared before the House Natural Resources Committee at the request of Ranking Member Rob Bishop (R-UT) to testify on two pieces of wildlife legislation. Interior previously hosted Ken Ivory at a closed-door American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meeting that Ivory shared on a social media account. 

Previous work by Western Values Project exposed ALC’s efforts to garner tax dollars from Western county commissions, leading to a max exodus of support.

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