Interior worried about Mormon sale
Facebook Twitter Email

The Department of Interior supports the intent of a proposed sale of land to the Mormon Church but questions whether the potential impact on other sacred sites.

In Congressional testimony, Kit Kimball, the Interior's external affairs director, said the deal "could be viewed as creating a precedent for conveying ownership of historic or prehistoric public sites that are deemed sacred to a particular group or culture." But she said the department didn't oppose the Church controlling the 1,640-acre Wyoming site.

A National Park Service review, however, questioned whether the Church is a good steward. According to a 2001 report, modifications were made to a nearby ranch that destroyed its historic character.

As for the Bureau of Land Management, the agency opposes the sale of Martin's Cove, which is the subject of legislation sponsored by Rep. Jim Hansen (R-Utah), chairman of the House Resources Committee. But the objections were overruled at the department level.

The committee will hold a hearing tomorrow to address the sale.

Get the Story:
LDS Ranch Site Criticized (The Salt Lake Tribune 5/15)
Mormons Seek Parcel of Public Land (The Los Angeles Times 5/15)

Get the Bill:
To direct the Secretary of the Interior to transfer certain public lands in Natrona County, Wyoming, to the Corporation of the Presiding Bishop (H.R.4103)

Related Stories:
Land sale could set precedent (5/13)
Mormons eye federal property (5/7)