My husband and I strongly oppose Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. John Curtis’ push on the Emery County Public Land Management Act as it is written.
We see this bill as a huge step backward for conservation. The bill designates only a third of the acres of wilderness-quality lands in Emery County for wilderness protection and leaves 900,000 acres of BLM land without protection. Of the third of the land that is designated, much is already protected.
The bill does not go far enough to protect the San Rafael Badlands, which has an extraordinary abundance of ancient rock art panels, habitation sites, stone-working sites and burials. The bill leaves the area vulnerable to off-road abuse, vandalism of the art, and oil and gas drilling.
Additionally, Labyrinth Canyon offers opportunities for people like us to go on a beginner’s hike and enjoy a wide range of quiet recreation. (We are over 65. I am disabled.)
We love this canyon. We would like more input from Utahns outside Emery County and from Native peoples with ties to the area. Tourism is life in small communities. Oil and gas drilling offer prosperity to a few.
The bill also rolls back existing protections, including opening a portion of Turtle Canyon to facilitate coal mining.
What we destroy to help a few make a boatload of money should be criminal because we cannot return to nature what she has given to us.
Diane Gardner, Mt. Pleasant