County Commission fights federal overreach, mismanagement

IRON COUNTY – In a meeting Friday, the Iron County Commission passed a resolution reiterating its displeasure with the federal government, the federal government’s perceived overreach and its general mismanagement in matters negatively affecting the county and its citizens. The resolution states that federal laws and mandates violating the Constitution will not be recognized by the county and are counted as “invalid.”

Something “heavy hitting” for Washington, D.C.

The resolution, called the “Constitutional Jurisdiction Resolution,” lays out what the County Commission sees as failures and mismanagement on the part of the federal government. Specifically, the resolution lists ongoing disputes related to the management of prairie dogs, wild horses and burros, backcountry roads and area forests.

We’ve individually pointed out these issues for a long time,” said Commissioner David Miller, chairman of the Iron County Commission. County commissioners from Iron County and other Utah counties will be visiting Washington, D.C., next week to meet with federal officials and the state’s congressional delegations, Miller said. The group wanted to present something in writing that was “very heavy hitting,” and so the resolution was created.

Portions of the resolution state:

The Iron County Board of Commissioners declares that any federal act, law, order, executive order, rule or regulation which violate the rights of Iron County citizens as set forth in clear language in the Constitution of the State of Utah, including but not limited to any attempt to enforce said actions is invalid in this county, shall not be recognized by this county, is specifically rejected by this county, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this county.

Be it further resolved that all State, civil and criminal law enforcement in Iron County is the jurisdiction of the local law enforcement agencies and any attempt by federal agencies to administer police powers or attempt to enforce law within Iron County, outside the authority granted by the federal constitution and state law is invalid.

“(The federal government) doesn’t have any authority past the enumerated powers,” Miller said, referring the the 10th Amendment of the Constitution, which is also recited in the resolution:

Amendment X (10) of the United States Constitution specifically cites that ‘The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.’

In the opinion of states’ rights advocates, this means any specific authority, law or regulation that isn’t expressly delegated to the federal government via the Constitution is left in the states’ hands to deal with as they individually see fit.

Officials in Washington, D.C., “don’t get it,” Miller said. He hopes that meeting with representatives and directors of various federal agencies involved in Iron County, such as the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, will lead to an understanding, he said, and things can be worked out. If that doesn’t happen, Iron County officials may take matters into their own hands.

Wild horses issue seen as example of mismanagement

Miller pointed to ongoing problems relating to the population of wild horses within the county. The population currently exceeds “appropriate management levels, or AMLs, and poses a threat to livestock forage, watershed and wildlife habitat, according to the resolution. The Wild Horse and Burro Program, which is administered by the Bureau of Land Management, has not kept federally mandated herd populations in check, Miller said, thus breaking federal law.

They’re blatantly breaking federal law,” he said.

If any regular person broke the law, they would be punished, Miller said, yet the BLM gets a free pass.

For its part, the BLM has previously taken the position that budget constraints and limited resources have played a part in not able keeping up with managing the wild herd populations in Iron County.

“One of our biggest hopes is they manage and reduce horse populations,” Miller said. However, if the BLM doesn’t, the county could likely become involved.

That sentiment is echoed in the resolution, which states that state-based wildlife management agencies are “poised to appropriately determine AMLs and effectively bring populations in line with AMLs.”

Parts of the resolution may eventually become a part of the county code, Miller said.

The resolution can be read in its entirety here.

St. George News contacted BLM-Utah for comment and did not receive a response by time of publication.

Related posts

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!


  • CHJ June 15, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Amendment X (10) does not negate or change Article 6, Clause 2 of the Constitution. Commonly known as the Supremacy Clause, it states clearly that the Constitution and federal laws made pursuant to it, constitute the supreme law of the land. State Constitutions are also subordinate. This Article and Clause is one of the enumerated powers of the Federal Government and seems to be forgotten too easily. The resolution statement that “The Iron County Board of Commissioners declares that any federal act, law, order, executive order, rule or regulation which violate the rights of Iron County citizens as set forth in clear language in the Constitution of the State of Utah…” flies directly against the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution.

  • Chris June 15, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Dave Miller is a complete moron who has no understanding whatsoever of the Constitution. His threat that the county might become involved in the wild horse roundup is a total bluff. The Iron County commission has neither the money nor the political courage to do anything with the horses. Dave just needs to shut up and stop making a fool of himself.

  • ok June 16, 2014 at 2:58 am

    Payed vacation to Washington D C on tax money?

  • R.T. Fitch June 16, 2014 at 7:16 am

    The “good ole welfare boys” of Iron County, Utah aren’t satisfied with the press coverage they received over their trumped-up Wild Horse Apocalypse story; now they plan on packing up their tales of deceit and deception and are heading out east to D.C. where they hope they can make a “big impression”…yeah, they make a big impression alright but most civilized people clean that stuff up with toilet tissue….

  • Grandma Gregg June 16, 2014 at 10:59 am

    I hereby denounce the Iron County commissioners for overreaching their bounds and authority in the issues of the federal government and the entire United States of America tax-paying citizens who own the public land and its resources. I write this in response to the following statement in the Spectrum: “Currently in a range war over wild horses and in the middle of a lawsuit regarding prairie dogs, Iron County commissioners voted Friday to adopt a resolution denouncing the overreach of the federal government into state and local issues.”

    The Iron County commissioners need to take care of what they do have jurisdiction to influence … county owned land issues and county government and nothing more. Their continued threats such as this one, “There is a high probability we are going to end up having to deal with these wild horses ourselves. So we are doing everything we can to show that we have tried to work with them (federal government), so if we’re forced to take action, we’ll have a track record” are a declaration of criminal intent – against you and me.

    A criminal conspiracy exists when two or more people agree to commit an unlawful act, and then take some action toward its completion. All collaborators involved and showing intent to break the law can be charged with conspiracy to commit the crime, regardless of whether the crime itself is actually attempted or completed. These Utah ranchers and the Iron County Commission are threatening to break a federal law and their threat alone is a conspiracy against the citizens of the United States of America.

    The American people own the public lands and resources in the West and they are supposed to be administered and protected on OUR behalf by the national government under laws and regulations. These are not “federal lands.” They are public lands. They never belonged to any state, county, individual, private or corporate entity. The land and the resources and the wild horses and wild burros belong to the citizens of the United States.

    The current threats by the Iron County Commissioners et al are apparently being made in response to BLM’s request to remove or reduce the privately owned domestic livestock that have, in the past, been permitted to graze on public land. Removal or reduction of domestic livestock which provides financial gain for any private or corporate owned institution must be activated in favor of protecting the land and the wildlife and wild horses and wild burros and their habitat that belong to the American people. As a matter of fact, by law the BLM can and should close appropriate areas of public lands to grazing use by all domestic livestock, if necessary, to provide habitat for wild horses or burros; to implement herd management actions; or to protect wild horses or burros from disease, harassment, or injury. 43 C.F.R. § 4710.5. It is the law.

  • Shane Destry June 16, 2014 at 11:28 am

    It would be humorous to see Iron County declare its secession from the United States in the name of the Constitution were it not for the tragic consequences to wild horses which is really the purpose of this absurd willful hypocrisy. This is of course nothing but the Aesop’s fable story of the wolf inventing pretexts to devour the lamb – in this case Miller representing welfare cattle ranchers and fracking interests whining about the BLM not rounding up wild horses and shipping them to slaughter fast enough to suit Iron County’s time-table ! Miller maladroitly uses the BLM’s own phony criterion of wild horses in “excess” of management levels to condemn them for inaction on this matter (it is all fake they represent the same interests, the BLM and welfare cattle ranchers are like pro wrestlers pretending to be enemies in the ring). Yet welfare cattle ranchers subscribed to the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 – in fact pushed for its passage themselves and gave authority ever since to remove “excess cattle” from areas threatened by overgrazing. Now having abided by nonaction on this area for eighty years, they suddenly declare it was “unconstitutional” all along ! The hypocritical BS gets deeper every day. Everyone knows that it is excess cattle, who outnumber wild horses by a factor of at least twenty to one in the dual use area here, who are the ones who should be removed .

  • Terri Russell June 16, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Ignorance abounds in this article. Ok .let these ranchers follow their own rules ansiphoningd that the federal government doesn’t exist and pretend that they don’t have to respect the federal laws. In exchange for that, let them forfeit all federal subsidies and tax beaks that are paid for by hard working tax payers in this country. Let them pay tax on their livestock with none of the breaks that they have been afforded for decades. Let them get the hell off Federal lands designated for the horses. Taxpaying Americans fight back, they are siphoning our hard earned tax dollars into their pockets by lying to the public and to the government. These crooks need to NE reined in. The rest of American agriculture deserves the breaks that these crooks have been stealing. American tax payers need a break from these thieves. They provide a miniscule portion of the meat on Americas tables

  • luvofhorses June 16, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Truly amazes me the ignorance of some! Honestly!! This commissioner is really making a fool of himself.. He KNOWS the Welfare Ranchers are causing the destruction of OUR public lands… So evident, so in our faces,,, the number of cattle compared to the Wild Horses… REALLY Mr. Miller… LOL what is in it for YOU to be making such a stance, so YOU can look like a fool… HOPE you are putting a lot in your pockets and it’s worth it….. You honestly must think everyone is un a where of the facts, and IF you think members in Washington don’t have a clue either you are going to be very disappointed….. Ride on the tail coats of the Ranchers Mr. Commissioner…. Your on a very bumpy road and when you fall of don’t expect anyone to care and oh that includes the Ranchers too…. Idiot……

  • horsepoor&lovin'it June 17, 2014 at 10:57 am

    Be careful what you wish for. Since the spoiled crybabies of Iron County don’t want to abide by the Constitution of the United States, let them run their own county without any federal aid of any kind. No perks for welfare ranchers, no federal tax dollars for infrastructure projects, no federal dollars of any kind to pay for the politicians who want to turn the county into a wasteland, and no crying for help from the government when the lawlessness turns violent. However, all public lands should be removed from county jurisdiction and all privately owned cattle or sheep currently grazing there would need to be removed and returned to the land of their owners. Farmers/ranchers in the Midwest only raise what their own land can sustain, or they pay the actual fair market rate to lease someone else’s land for their cattle or sheep. Sounds like it’s time for the ranchers in the west to try living in the real world. The days of the American taxpayer subsidizing your outdated way of life are numbered. Mr. Miller and all who support his position should be charged with conspiracy. Anyone who intentionally hurts or kills a wild horse or burro should be charged with poaching and violating federal law. Anyone caught herding a wild horse or burro onto private land should be charged with the theft of public property. And the BLM should step up and do the job that they are entrusted by law to do, which is to protect the wild horses and burros.

  • Chicorey June 17, 2014 at 11:10 am

    I agree with the above comment! Let these so-called ranchers do without the federal subsidies. Possibly run their cattle & sheep on PRIVATE land & pay the full price! OR if they cant afford to do that – then they should get out of the cattle & sheep raising business. Farmers & ranchers in other parts of the country have to make do with their owned lands. Why are these few allowed to dictate to the federal government????? I do NOT come down on the side of the BLM, because they are as much at fault for this system as the ranchers.

  • HoofHugs June 17, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    In July 1996 the Secretariat of UN Convention on Biological Diversity agreed with a Stanford University Professor, [who would become the official international US liaison between the inaugural Citizens Advisory Council to the National Invasive Species Council (also inaugural)] to create a group to fund the work of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. The IUCN’s work was to educate the global community about the danger of alien species. An alien species is defined as one that did not originate where it is found and could not have, of its own means, come to be where currently found. Despite the 55 million years of evolution of the horse in North America, and the already published in a number of academically rigorous peer-reviewed journals that the combination of fossil and mitochondrial DNA evidence pointed to a North American origin of the modern horse, Equus caballus, this Stanford professor nor Al Gore’s own Harvard educated or professorial biologists managed to find a compelling need to find out if their claims about the North American non-native status of the horse were confirmed by any scientific evicence or not. In fact, the expert arm of the UN’s Environmental Programme did not seem to be concerned whether any part of the the biological diversity conundrum was true or not. In fact, this motley crew of elite experts saw no reason to know whether any of the species they chose to prevent, control, or eradicate actually did or did not originate where they claimed (if pressed) they originated because they already planned to eradicate them on the basis of harm. But what the harm was is never defined, and the idea that we have a federal government that would rather wipe out whole species regardless of the value they have for the American people ought to scare the wits out of all of us. When the Stanford professor requested funding for the alien, invasive species program, he knew as did the Secretariat that the Food and Agriculture Organization had re-written the IPPC to include animal species as plant pests. Cows, horses, pigs, goats, sheep, dogs, and cats are listed as alien, invasive animal species that could be harmful to plants and thus subject to government seizure and eradication through international invasive species law in force October 2, 2005.

  • HoofHugs June 17, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    A lot of information about alien, invasive species has disappeared from the Internet, and language in the Farm Bill on Plant Protection appears to omit any suggestions that animal species are included as plant pests unlike the pre-ratification interim federal Plant Pest Protection Act passed in June 2000 to serve as interim federal law until the international treaty took place in 2005. However, hard VP Gore’s sentinels protected the fraud they committed, the actual scientific evidence that exists is pretty clear that the horse in many of its observable variations in size and shape lived in ecosystems from the fresh water springs of Florida to beyond the ice sheet in the Yukon of Alaska and from the coastal grasslands covered by the Atlantic to the LaBrea tar pits in LA. Whether or not the government wants to make a big statement about this or not, it seems like most there has been a renewed burst of energy by western ranchers and those who hold stock in minerals or energy production on Western public lands. Horses are not going to bother energy produces and cattle won’t either though neither species will be able to survive in the numbers that they have when water is more plentiful. The good news is that plants don’t need as much water when C02 levels are higher to do the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere. Animals usually adapt to climate stress by decreasing their size. It is a shame that in all these years ofmanaging land, the BLM has not managed to educate itself that horses and cattle have different jaw structures, different digestive systems, and therefore, they eat different plants or eat the same plants but at different stages of growth. Cows and horses graze the same pasture at the same time or graze it alternately to rest the pasture. You’d think after all these years the BLM and the ranchers could have learned the beneficial effects of allowing different species with different digestive processes, and thus, products, help land– not harm it.

  • Sandra Sell-Lee June 18, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Could we please ask the adults in the dispute to step forward (all sides being fairly represented), find a round table and a neutral facilitator (mediator?) so that everyone who has a position, get to state their position, and list their INTERESTS. Everyone else at the table gets to listen and learn from everyone else. At this point, being adults, these people begin creating solutions that will satisfy most interests in the room. This is very hard work, but it does work IF the adults are committed to finding innovative solutions. And IF we are all committed to preserving our public lands and our natural resources into eternity for our chilcren’s children’s children to experience. It’s called a legacy. So, who’s IN?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.