Public Lands Coordination
The State of Utah boasts unrivaled natural beauty, and while that beauty is perhaps most manifest in the state’s five national parks and forty-three state parks, rural Utah’s beauty pays no attention to park boundaries. Utah’s natural beauty is an economic development boon, fostering not only recreation-driven tourism, but also a thriving community of outdoor recreation product developers. Of course we hope to preserve the state’s natural beauty for aesthetic and environmental reasons, but there are also ample economic reasons to preserve. However, the development of our natural resources – whether energy, minerals, agricultural products, etc. – is just as important to the state’s economy, and to the lifestyles and livelihoods of rural Utahns. So it is essential that we strike a balance between conservation and development. Given that nearly 70% of the State of Utah is managed by various federal agencies (BLM, DOD, USFS, NPS, etc.), regular coordination with federal land management agencies is necessary if we hope to put rural lands to the most beneficial multiple use. While this often means working to advance specific projects on, for example, Bureau of Land Management land, in some cases there are opportunities to exchange lands, putting high resource-value lands into the hands of the state.
The Office of Energy Development is regularly engaged with federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, developers, and other state agencies as we strive to make the right choices for Utah’s lands. The Public Lands Policy Coordination Office (PLPCO) is the lead agency as the State endeavors to advance its policy and economic goals on federal land, it it coordinates among various state agencies, including OED.