US Justice Department to Sue California Over State's Right to Sell Lands

US Justice Department to Sue California Over State's Right to Sell Lands

The U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the state of California on Monday over a law that allows the state to block the U.S. government from selling federal lands.

The California law gives the state the first right to buy federal lands, to arrange for a specific buyer, as well as the ability to block the sale, donation or exchange of federal lands by the federal government or to any other person or entity.

The Justice Department cites the Constitution's supremacy clause, which gives federal laws priority over state ones, as the basis for its legal action. Lawmakers who passed the law a year ago cited concerns that the Trump administration would allow more logging, oil drilling or development on some of the 46 million acres owned by the federal government in California.

In the lawsuit, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the California law is unconstitutional.

Justice Department officials said California's law on federal lands drew their notice when the state's land commission began issuing letters about various, somewhat mundane transfers of federal property around military and veterans affairs facilities.

"The Public Lands Protection Act represents the will of the vast majority of Californians who believe public lands should remain in public hands", California state Sen.

"We've got a different outlook here, and you know, look, I think that Jeff Sessions, of all people, should know the value of allowing states with different perspectives to do things the way they want to do things, within reason", Allen said.

California would be ready to file a lawsuit if needed to protect its greenhouse gas emission standards, according to Becerra.

Last month, Sessions, during his visit to Sacramento, California's capital, announced that he was suing the state over laws that hinder cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

"This is another example of California ignoring federal laws", he added.

California officials claim the state doesn't interfere with the actual sale of federal lands, but rather prevents the transfer deeds from being recorded.

"California has once again passed an extreme statute, found in no other state, to obstruct the federal government".

California Gov. Jerry Brown called the move a "belated April Fools' Day trick".

"The Trump Administration's assault on clean vehicle standards risks our ability to protect our children's health, tackle climate change, and save hardworking Americans money", Becerra said in a statement.

Last fall, we featured California reporter Katy Grimes' book, California's War Against Trump, which chronicled the regulatory and legal volleys that the state's politicians has lobbed against President Trump since the day of his historic election.

The administration in early March announced it would challenge the state's so-called sanctuary policies, restricting local law enforcement's communication with federal immigration authorities. Brown for pardoning five illegal immigrants who are facing possible deportation.

Sessions has also recently reversed Obama-era guidance when it comes to prosecuting federal laws making the use or sales of marijuana a crime even though state legislatures in California, Oregon, and Washington have legalized it.

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