The Green Party will hold its national convention in Utah this year — despite being at odds with the state’s Republican leaders over public lands management and downsizing the former Bears Ears National Monument.
“It will help elevate the issues and bring more light as to what is wrong with some of the decisions that have been made here,” said Dee Taylor, a national delegate representing the Green Party of Utah.
The party, which was officially recognized by the state just last year, put in its bid a few months ago and beat out Memphis, Tenn. The Salt Lake City meeting comes a year after the Outdoor Retailer Show left for Denver over its own concerns about how the conservative state protects and oversees land and recreation.
Taylor anticipates roughly 150 members will attend the convention, to be held at the University of Utah from July 19-22. The first few days will focus on local issues, including American Indian sovereignty, national monuments, air pollution, toxic-waste storage and extractive industries.
“People come from all over the world to see our state,” Taylor said. “But there’s continued efforts to mine the land for a variety of things.”
Members will also discuss party bylaws and introduce new candidates — including a few running for office in Utah: Abrian Velarde campaigning for state Senate in District 12 and Jerold Adam Davis for the 1st Congressional District. Most of the discussions will be open to the public and early registration is $110.
Scott McLarty, the party’s national spokesman, said the Green Party represents “an alternative vision” of the country from that of Republicans and Democrats. And while most members don’t agree with Utah’s mostly GOP representatives — or President Donald Trump — on environmental policies, they’re looking to add a new voice to conversations happening in the state.
“We do hope that the people of Salt Lake City get to know us, get to know what we stand for.”
The Green Party platform on public lands calls for repeal of the General Mining Law of 1872 (provisions of which Utah leaders use to argue for public roads and rights-of-way though vast swaths of federal lands); opposes the sale or commercial privatization of public lands; supports an end to oil, gas and mineral “giveaways,” and elimination of livestock grazing subsidies; and demands “tough new environmental safeguards to protect against mining pollution” and a ban on industrial timber harvests on public lands.