“[T]he land transfer could be profitable for the state if oil and gas prices remain stable and high and the state negotiates a change in the royalty revenue share…,” the study found.
The study was conducted by economists from the University of Utah, Utah State University, and Weber State University as part of a 2012 bill the state legislature passed to look into Utah taking over federal land.
A transfer would also cost Utah an estimated $248 million by 2017, 35 percent of which would be for wildfire-related expenditures, the study reported.
“I expect that public discussion will be well-served by this report,” Gov. Gary Herbert (R) said in a statement. “It shows the complexities and connections between Utah’s robust economy, and the great quality of life Utahns enjoy.”
Herbert said his office and the state legislature will “continue to review” the study and “pose questions for further consideration of the legislature.”
The federal government controls about 635 million acres across the country, and controls a large percentage of many Western states. Utah is second only to Nevada for highest percentage of land controlled by the federal government. The federal government manages 81.1 percent of Nevada.