You may already know that the state of Utah has sued the federal government for thousands of miles of “routes” across BLM lands—many of them bogus—in a blatant attempt to dissect Utah’s wild lands and thwart their protection. Now California Rep. Paul Cook is trying to make it easier for such claims to advance. His bill, HR 4313, the “Historic Route Preservation Act,” would significantly lower the standards for claiming so-called RS 2477 “highways,” allowing counties and other special interest groups to win claims they never could now.
Tell your representative to oppose this cynical land grab!
Revised Statute 2477, better known as RS 2477, dates back to 1866 and was originally an effort to encourage prospectors and homesteaders to settle the West by granting rights-of-way across federal lands. It was repealed in 1976, and existing valid claims that could be proven were grandfathered in. But many of Utah’s thousands of claims aren’t valid; they are hoax highways that consist of nothing more than old two-tracks, dry washes, and seismic lines from drilling exploration. Many of these run directly through national parks, national monuments, designated wilderness, and wilderness study areas.
RS 2477 is being abused to undermine the protection of federal lands, particularly wilderness, and Rep. Cook’s bill paves the way for countless egregious claims to be recognized. The bill would greatly loosen the standard of evidence for such claims, making it so that the simple filing of certain materials—many of which are irrelevant, outdated, and questionable given their age—and a sworn statement confirming their authenticity would be sufficient evidence to seize tens of thousands of rights-of-way across the American West. With your help we can put a stop to that.
Click here to tell your representative to stand against H.R. 4313.