“Under my direction, the Western Governors’ Association expressed deep concern last spring over the decision by the Department of Interior (DOI) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to withhold state mineral lease revenues as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (the so-called budget sequester). As I’ve said all along, federal spending needs to be reduced, but there is a better way to do it than through indiscriminant, across-the-board cuts. In particular, the federal government has no right to take money that rightfully and legally belongs to states. I applaud the Department of the Interior for finally reaching the appropriate conclusion and I hope that they will extend the same reasoning to other programs, such as Secure Rural Schools and PILT funding.”
As of July 31, 2013, the amount sequestered from Utah’s MLA payments totals more than $6.1 million. The Department of the Interior indicates the funds will be available for disbursement in FY 2014.