Sagebrush Rebellion Act Exposed

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The Sagebrush Rebellion Act is listed under ALEC's Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force and was included in the 1995 ALEC Sourcebook of American State Legislation. ALEC has attempted to distance itself from this piece of legislation after the launch of in 2011, but it has done nothing to get it repealed in the states where it previously pushed for it to be made into law.

ALEC Bill Text


ALEC’s model Sagebrush Rebellion Act is designed to establish a mechanism for the transfer of ownership of unappropriated lands from the federal government to the states. Model Legislation

Section 1. {Short title.}

This act shall be known and may be cited as the Sagebrush Rebellion Act.

Section 2. {Statement of purpose.}

It is the purpose of this act to establish and empower a State Board of Public Lands Review whose purpose it will be to hold in trust for the benefit of the people of this state, all unappropriated, public lands within the exterior boundaries of this state

Section 3. {Definitions.}

The following words and phrases when used in this act shall have the meaning given to them in this section unless context clearly indicates otherwise: (4 “Review Board.” The State Public Lands Review Board. W “Public lands.” All lands within the exterior boundaries of this state except lands:

1. To which title is held by any natural person, corporation, company, partnership, firm, association, society or any other entity.
2. Which are owned or held in trust by this state or any political subdivision of this state including leased school or university land.
3. Which are located within Congressionally authorized national parks, monuments, national forests or wildlife refuges, or are lands acquired by purchase consented to by the legislature.
4. Which are controlled by the United States Department of Energy or Bureau of Reclamation.
5. Which are held in trust for Indian purposes or are Indian reservations. “Department.” The State Lands Department {or like agency}. 62 “Commissioner.” The Commissioner of the State Lands Department {or like agency},

Section 4. {Public policy with respect to public lands: state lands department.}

(A) The Department shall hold the public lands of this state in trust for the benefit of the people of this state and shall manage them in an orderly and beneficial manner consistent with the public policy declared in Subsection (B).

(B) The Department shall administer the public lands of this state in such a manner as to conserve and preserve natural resources, wildlife habitat, wilderness areas and historical sites and artifacts and to permit ranching, mining and timber production and the development, production and transmission of energy and other public utility services under principles of multiple use which provide the greatest benefit to the people of this state.

(C) Subject to exiting rights, all public land in this state and all minerals not previously appropriated are the property of this state and subject to its jurisdiction and control.

(D) Any public lands within this state administered by the United States under treaties or interstate compacts shall continue to be administered by this state in conformance with the treaties or compacts.

(E) Until equivalent measures are enacted by this state, the rights and privileges of the people of this state under the National Forest Reserve Transfer Act, 16 U.S.C. Sec. 471, et seq.; the General Mining Laws, 30 U.S.C. Sec. 21, et seq.; The Taylor Grazing Act, 43 U.S.C. Sec. 315, et seq.; The Desert Land Act, 43U.S.C. Sec. 321, et seq.; The Carey Act, 43 U.S.C. Sec. 641 et seq.: The Public Range lands Improvement Act, 43 U.S.C. Sec. 1901, et seq. and all rights-of-way and easements for public utilities are preserved under administration of this state.

Section 5. {State lands commissioner, powers and duties.}

The Commissioner may:

(A) With the approval of the review board promulgate rules and regulations deemed necessary to manage the public lands in an orderly and beneficial manner according to this act.

(B) Contract for or employ professional and clerical personnel deemed necessary to carry out his function under this act.

(C) Convey, lease or permit the use of public lands to the same extent or in the same manner as the public lands are conveyed, leased, licensed or permitted to be used by the Federal Government or any of its agencies.

(D) Deposit all fees, rents, royalties or other monies paid to this state for the purposes of public lands with the state treasurer for credit to the general fund.

Section 6. {State Public Lands Review Board; members; powers and duties.}

(A) There is hereby created a State Public Lands Review Board. The: Review Board shall be composed OE

(1) The Director of the state department on environmental planning.
(2) The Director of the state fish and game administration.
(3) The Director of the state department of water resources.
(4) The Director of the state department of mineral resources.
(5) The Director of the state department of state parks,
(6) The Director of the state department of energy resources and development
(7) The Director of the State department of agriculture,
(8) The Director of the State department of conservation and natural resources,
(9) State Engineer.

(B) The Chairman of the Review Board shall be elected by the review board from among its membership and shall serve for a term of two years. The Chairman shall call meetings of the Review Board and prescribe the time and place of each meeting. Five members of the Review Board shall constitute a quorum.

(C) The Review Board:

(1) Shall review and approve or disapprove all rules and regulations proposed by the Commissioner under this act.
(2) May review any decision of the Commissioner relating to public lands under this act and affirm, modify or reverse the decision.

Section 7. {Appeal of Commissioner’s decision: Review Board; procedures; decision; farther appeal.}

(A) Any person who is aggrieved by a decision of the Commissioner made pursuant to this act may appeal to the Review Board by letter within 30 days after the date of the decision from which the appeal is taken.

(B) To have the effect of commencing an appeal as provided for in subsection A., a letter is required to:

(1) Identify the decision from which the appeal is taken.
(2) State legal grounds for the appeal
(3) List facts to support the grounds for the appeal.
(4) Provide any other information specified by the Review Board.

(C) Upon receipt of the letter of appeal, the Review Board may:

(1) Order the appeal dismissed if it appears to lack merit.
(2) Set a date for a bearing on the appeal not more than 45 days nor less than 15 days after receipt of letter of appeal. The Review Board shall notify the Commissioner and the person appealing of the date, time and place of the hearing. The Review Board shall conduct the hearing in an informal manner.

(D) At the hearing the Commissioner or his representative shall present the facts and reasons for reaching the decision being appealed. The person appealing or his representative may present facts and reasons for supporting the appeal. If the person appealing or his representative is not present, the Review Board may consider the information set forth in the letter of appeal.

(B) At the hearing, if held, the Review Board may dismiss the appeal or take any other action which the Review Board finds to be reasonable and proper. The Review Board shall issue its order as soon as practicable after conducting the hearing. The order of the Review Board is a final decision in a contested case.

Section 8. {Disposal and use of public lands; written authorization required.}

(A) After July 1, {insert year of effective date}, no sale, conveyance or other disposal of public lands may be authorized by the Commissioner unless specifically authorized by law by the legislature.

(B) Except as authorized by this act, or by the Commissioner pursuant to law, any sale, lease, exchange, encumbrance or other disposal of any parcel of or interest in the public lands is void.

(C) Any person who intends to perform or carry out any act with respect to the use, management or disposal of any public lands under any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom or usage of the United States or otherwise shall obtain written authorization from the Commissioner confirming or approving the act. The Commissioner shall give the written authorization only as permitted under this act.

(D) Any person who does not obtain written authorization as required under subsection C. may be enjoined in an action brought by the Attorney General from performing or continuing to carry out any act respecting the use, management or disposal of any public lands.

(E) Any person who receives any money or other consideration for any purported sale or other disposition of any public lands which was made in violation of this act is liable to this state for that money or the value of any other consideration. The money or value of any other consideration may be recovered for this state in an action brought by the Attorney General.

Section 9. {Attorney General; powers & duties.}

(A)The Attorney General may initiate or defend an action commenced in any court to carry out or enforce the provisions of this act or seek any appropriate judicial relief to protect the interest of the state or the people of the state in the public lands. The right to enforce the provisions of this act rests exclusively in the Attorney General.

Section 10. {Inventory of public lands.}

(A) The Department shall conduct an inventory and a study of the public lands of this state. to determine, in conjunction with the county boards of supervisors and planning agencies of this state and its political subdivision, the methods of management of the public lands which will satisfy the requirements of Section 4., of this act and establish a basis for determining the best use of the land.

(B) The Department shall submit a report on the inventory and study conducted under this section to the governor, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives nine (9) months after the effective date of this legislation.

Section 11. {Severability clause.}

Section 12. {Repealer clause.}

Section 13. {Effective date.}