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Officials pass resolution stating federal acts that violate Iron County citizens’ rights are ‘invalid in this county’

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Posted at 9:29 PM, Jun 13, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-13 23:29:32-04

PAROWAN, Utah - Iron County commissioners say they’re not going to tolerate the federal government over reaching in their county. Friday, they approved a resolution with some strong words for those government agencies.

Two commissioners attended by phone the special emergency meeting. Commissioner Dave Miller said it’s a problem they’ve seen in county dealings over and over, and it’s reached a point where they can no longer stay silent.

“We can’t even function in our daily lives without getting some kind of permit, some kind of special permission,” Miller said. “Some kind of fear of breaking federal law.”

The resolution points to problems with prairie dogs, mismanagement of forest land and failure to control wild horses as some of the ways federal government is putting undue strain on the county.

“We don’t have a problem with prairie dogs,” Miller said. “We have a problem with the process that’s been managing these prairie dogs, and have literally been impacting individuals lives, communities.”

The resolution says, in effect, any federal act, law rule or regulation that violates the rights of Iron County citizens 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.”

It goes on to say any state and criminal law enforcement will be the jurisdiction of local law enforcement 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.”

Commissioners are taking it one step further, next week they’re headed to Washington DC to talk directly to agency directors and congressmen about alleged federal over reach. They say their main goal is cooperation, but if they don’t get cooperation, they’re willing to take things into their own hands.

“That’s not their job,” said Iron County Sheriff Mark Gower of federal agents enforcing state law. “Their job is proprietary in nature, their job is to enforce maybe federal laws on federal land, and not assimilate our laws.”

Gower said local agency representatives are generally cooperative, but in many ways those representatives have their hands tied when it comes to federal policy. the county is looking for broad change. Residents said it’s overdue.

“[The federal government] [doesn’t] know the issues,” Resident Rusty Aiken said. “Our local commissioners know what needs to be done, they’ve got their hands involved, and see the problems.”

Fox 13 reached out to local BLM and the US Forest Service representatives for comment, but one was not immediately available.

Read the full report as a PDF by clicking here: Iron County Constitutional Jurisdiction Resolution