Utah to federal officers: Stop enforcing our laws


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – The latest flashpoint in Utah-federal relations is headed to court.

Utah recently enacted legislation barring federal officers – at risk of arrest – from trying to enforce traffic or common laws on national forest, federal range lands and national parks.

Now the state faces a challenge brought by the federal government – in federal court.

A federal judge slapped a temporary injunction on the law the day it was to take effect, May 13. State lawyers will try to get the injunction lifted at a hearing set for early Friday in Salt Lake City.

Utah claims the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have no right to enforce state or local laws.

Federal officials tell The Associated Press that traffic infractions, gun laws and hunting and fishing regulations are among the state and local laws they enforce on federal lands.

New Interior Secretary Sally Jewell could face tough questioning when she appears before the Western Governors’ Association in Park City.

Jewell will take up the topic of managing public lands, always a hot topic across the West.

Utah has threatened to sue the federal government for control of federal lands and recently enacted legislation barring federal officers – at risk of arrest -from enforcing any common laws in the state.

Utah Rep. Rob Bishop, a vocal critic of federal policies, will join Jewell in a roundtable discussion on public lands, together with Ronald Jibson, chief of natural gas producer Questar Corp.

After that, Jewell will open the floor to questions from governors.

The Western governors’ annual meeting goes through Sunday at the Montage Deer Valley.

Jewell arrived in Utah late Thursday for her Friday appearance.

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