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Bishop seeks grand bargain on public lands

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"We’re weary of the struggle," says Kathleen Clarke, the former BLM director who now heads up Gov. Gary Herbert’s Public Lands Policy Coordination Office. "We’re tired of the endless battle, and nobody is winning. Everyone is anxious to see something break loose."

Herbert has endorsed the process and twice met with Bishop to go over the concept, Clarke said.

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The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, too, is on board.

"We look for every opportunity to protect wilderness," says Richard Peterson-Cremer, SUWA’s legislative director based in Washington. "We’re open to see how this progresses."

Uintah County Commissioner Mike McKee, who also met with the congressman and his staff on the proposal, says it’s time to put the controversy aside and work it out.

"Special interests have dug in, counties have dug in, and there has been an impasse here for a bunch of years," McKee says, noting that the Washington County Lands Bill paved the way for others to follow.

"There is probably more of a willingness of the parties to work together and for that to happen," McKee adds. "It has to benefit all parties."


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