Utah’s congressional delegation, by some reckoning the most anti-public lands delegation in the United States, is attacking Utah’s wild public lands yet again. This time, we are getting a one-two punch by Sen. Mike Lee, Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. John Curtis.
Lee has proposed legislation to allow bicycles in wilderness areas. It is simply a way to open the door to dismantling wilderness areas across America. Hatch and Curtis, in another out-of-touch stance, have proposed legislation that will “cut up” wilderness study areas in Utah and protect some small wild land areas while allowing defiling of many others.
It is somehow difficult for me to listen to these anti-wilderness crusaders suggest they represent the economic interests and the public of our state. Wild land recreation in Utah is greater than a $12 billion industry. The public-land industries our congressional members loudly support, all of them extractive and creating long-term land damage, are worth a combined $2.2 billion. This obvious wrong-headedness in detriment to Utah’s wild public lands has one major basis: Our congressional representatives are owned by the extractive industries. They do as they are bidden for sizable donations to keep them in office. These so-called public servants need to be voted out and replaced by representatives of Utah’s populace who are not rooted in the past and have a realistic vision of the future and the import of Utah’s unparalleled wild lands.
Sam Rushforth, Orem