As Utah's GOP leaders demand 'back' the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, there is one dirty little secret that the land grabbers never mention.
Congress approved a land swap in 1999, exchanging unproductive state land in the Monument (SITLA lands) for $50 million in cash plus 139,000 acres of very economically lucrative federal lands outside the Monument.
That swap was a heist for the state. A steal. The trade-for acres have been a cash cow for SITLA.
With the Grand Escalante land exchange, the state (playing the victim card) made a great deal in 1999. They should relax. Stop their cunning calculations, fiendish plots--and just enjoy having the Monument and all the cash!
Where is the money going to come from if the President reverses the deal and we have to pay the feds back?