Utah theo-constitutional activists public landsOver a meaningless bill, it appears that anti-public lands theo-constitutional activists are eating themselves over the definition of “home rule” in Utah, as the fundamentalists have begun imposing a purity test.

Utah theo-constitutional activists public lands
Rep. Mike Noel

State Representative Mike Noel is well known as a bullying anti-public lands legislator and has been defending his Utah Public Lands Management Act (HB 276), which creates a Division of Land Management. The DLM would be a state agency to replace those of the federal government in the unlikely event that Utah prevails over the Utah Transfer of Public Lands Act, which is anticipated to cost taxpayers $14 million in legal fees to sue the federal government for these lands’ “return.” At least one can credit Noel for being prepared, as his expertise as a former realty specialist with the BLM no doubt gives him the experience needed to craft such an organization.

Radio host and fundamentalist activist Ben McClintock has been exposing linguistic flaws in Noel’s bill, specifically in relation to Section 13: Enforcement Authority whereby he correctly believes that the state DLM and Division of Wildlife Resources would be the primary law enforcement authority on state lands. Instead, he believes this authority solely rests with the local Sheriff.  

Notes McClintock on DefendingUtah.org a radical theo-constitutional nonprofit website, “HB 276 gives PRIMARY authority to these regional policing bodies, automatically putting any local sheriff in a back seat position to defending the rights of the people on the land usurped by a government agency.”

This feud had been building for quite some time and is more than with just Noel.

McClintock has been expressing displeasure with the legislative and judicial lands transfer approach of the American Lands Council and Rep. Ken Ivory over the past year, calling him “Utah’s Most Dangerous Legislator.” In a January interview during the Malheur occupation with McClintock, LaVoy Finicum agreed, believing there is no hope through legislative or judicial means:

The Federal government loves the American Lands Council. Because, what do they do? They keep it in the legislative arena, they keep it in the judicial arena. [The feds] like that because they’ll never lose. They’ll just keep stretching it out, they’ll stretch it out for thirty years.”

Utah theo-constitutional activists public lands
Rep. Ken Ivory, Western Freedom Forum, 10/23/15

McClintock works alongside political commentator and activist Cherilyn Bacon Eagar as part of the fundamentalist “Liberty Lineup” show on talk radio KTKK 630 AM out of Salt Lake City. While Eagar has been acting in a PR role for the Finicum family since LaVoy’s death. Both she and McClintock have been assisting long time anti-public lands activist and attorney Todd MacFarlane with pulling off financier Bert Smith’s Storm Over Rangelands workshop tour, whereby ranchers are given a sales pitch to sign a pledge to stop paying for federal grazing fees with the intention of reaching a “critical mass” of untenable future Bundy-like standoffs.

Like Finicum, McClintock is also understands the requirement of a “constitutional” local Sheriff taking the position that they are the ultimate law of the land in order to provide support for ranchers in their jurisdictions who protest their grazing permit fees, to fend off a “tyrannical” federal government when it comes to enforce federal law.

Said Finicum to McClintock,

“Mike Noel, and this group found out about [the pledges], and they ran out there the next week saying ‘No, no! Give us more time. We will get this done. Don’t do that.’ And so it took the steam out of it, and that could have been the first full county, because they have the sheriff behind them, they could have been the first whole county in the Union to throw off this federal chains… .”

That referenced event took place in Piute County in November 2015 when Finicum and Arizona militia organizer and Coalition of Western States member Cope Reynolds first courted ranchers, the home of Sheriff Marty Gleave who at a recent Utah Rural Caucus meeting publicly announced his willingness to arrest Fishlake National Forest employees if they enforce federal laws on grazing permits. Gleave has become a vocal focal point, empowered by fundamentalists like McClintock and Eagar who support his and protesting ranchers’ efforts through their direct participation and propaganda endeavors … all the more important given their lessons with Sheriff Dave Ward in Harney County, Oregon.

Another fundamentalist darling is Bundy/Finicum supporter and St. George Fox Radio and The Blaze conservative talk show host Kate Hefley Dalley. Deciding to join the fray against Noel and his bill, she and McClintock have a working relationship, cross-pollinating their thoughts and listeners. Dalley has been critical, so much so that Mike and his family – including son Beaver County Sheriff Cameron Noel – are vigorously on the offensive. Said Dalley to Sara Noel Williams, Mike’s daughter, via a Facebook exchange,

Your dad asked ‘do you know who I am’ to my boss the day earlier when I was mid show and he DEMANDED to be put on the air. So you are not telling the truth…..Your brother sent me a very weird email the day before telling me I was a liar and his dad was coming down there and “reminded” me that he was the Sheriff of Beaver County numerous times. I was nice enough not to mention all of this on the air during our interview as to not taint the interview. You are welcome.” (March 19, 2016)

DefendingUtah.org also believes that Noel isn’t playing fair, alleging that he’s misusing his authority to gain information to engage in an intimidation campaign:

“I am getting word from radio talk show hosts that have had him on and public figures that work with me that state Representative Mike Noel is accessing government records to find out whatever those records would show about me. (March 17, 2016)”

Of course, Noel is doing his usual unapologetic bullying thing.

Thanks for pointing out that Mr. Unknown Ben (not his real name) McClintock should increase his political attacks on me. WHO IS BEN MCCLINTOCK? Why is he hiding his real identity? Where does his dark money come from?”

In the end, never mind that the position of the Sheriff being the ultimate legal authority in our system of government is Constitutional hogwash. Never mind that Noel and Ivory have passed and are defending meaningless, unconstitutional public lands bills that cost taxpayers millions. Never mind that Ben McClintock may not be his real name.

Utah theo-constitutional activists public lands
Tweet to author from Western Freedom Festival, a group of Utah political leaders that uses tax dollars to promote anti-public lands messages.

Let’s instead be very thankful that “McClintock,” Dalley, and their fundamentalist theo-conservative supporters are employing a purity test over what is considered “home rule” instead of further promoting the White Horse Prophecy. They are exposing an out-of-control Utah Republican theocratic establishment that is in the business of passing wasteful bills and planning for a public land transfer that will never happen in a million years. What is amazing is they all are eating themselves while playing “make believe.”

Supposedly, Sun Tzu said, “The control of a large force is the same principle as the control of a few men: it is merely a question of dividing up their numbers.” As a federal public lands supporter studying the role of Utah theo-constitutional activists in the debate, I can tell you that it is quite satisfying watching the cannibalism.



  1. This would be devastating for all of us who live in the West. Our rugged way of life would be history after our lands are sold off for a quick buck.

  2. During a Senate committee hearing at the Utah Legislature this session, Mike Noel introduced his HB276 (Utah Public Lands Management Act). During his comments he mentioned that “developing communities” (such as Washington County) could see parcels sold off under the public lands management process he proposes. This really caught my attention since I was in the audience and I made a comment that this seemed to go against the Vision Dixie process that our county conducted in 2007 at the cost of about $500,000 and the time of about 3,000 citizens. Citizens at that time made it clear that they did not want much conversion of public lands. In fact, they were directly opposing the 2006 Washington County Growth & Conservation Act that would have converted over 20,000 acres. This act he was sponsoring seemed to be an “end run” around the Vision Dixie process and not in keeping with the public decisions made by our own citizens. Anyone who’s interested can listen to Rep. Noel’s presentation about his bill at http://utahlegislature.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?clip_id=20098&meta_id=625669. I understand that some in Washington County are discussing doing a new Vision Dixie process (more spending of our tax dollars!) in an attempt to get a “better answer” than the last Vision Dixie process got them and which they have clearly ignored in their decision making since 2007.

  3. Wow – super informative. I just wonder who is better at taking care of these beautiful lands – the State of Utah or the Federal Government? All I can say, there is sure a whole lot of garbage strewn across the pristine lands around Washington County. Not sure who controls the various locations, but it is a shame never the less. I wish I could invent a portable wilderness vacuum cleaner for all the broken glass. Your article is very well written. I hope to become better informed on the matter.

  4. All I can say is that there is a whole lot of deception on the part of Mike Noel regarding the public lands bill HB276. I personally want the federal lands in Utah returned to Utah, however, not the way Mike Noel wants it done. The ranchers will still be under the heavy hand of an over-reach of government with the establishment of the DLM, the Utah Department Of Land Management. DLM is another bloated government beaurocracy that will control the citizenry and take away our freedom. The sheriff will no longer be the top law enforcement officer in their local jurisdiction. The DLM has the indorsement of the unconstitutional American Lands Council which I feel will ultimately control Utah’s lands. It is my request that Governor Herbert veto HB276. Signed Larry Jones

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