(Bloomberg)—The Trump administration asked a California judge to block a new state law that interferes with the sale of federal land to private developers.
The Justice Department said in a complaint filed Monday in Sacramento that the statute, signed by Governor Jerry Brown in October, runs afoul of the federal government’s exclusive right to dispose of U.S. property.
The suit is the latest salvo in the legal battle between the state and federal governments over numerous U.S. initiatives, particularly on immigration and the environment, that clash with California’s more liberal policies.
The California law, which gives the state the right of first refusal on sales of federal land, discourages transactions with private developers for resource extraction, the U.S. says. The statute has so far delayed the sale of Postal Service, Navy and Veterans Affairs land, the government says.
The law "creates a cloud on record and marketable title and, as a result, creates uncertainty, the significant potential for litigation and other expenditures of resources, and other burdens for the United States and those with whom it deals," according to the complaint.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement that the state’s public lands shouldn’t be on the auction block to the highest bidder.
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