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Letter: Pearl clutching and theatrical bombast about lobbying is misleading and disingenuous

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Crude oil pumpjacks, defunct, at right and fully operational, at left, are plentiful throughout Montezuma Creek and the Greater Aneth Oil Field in San Juan County, June 24, 2020.

As I read Zak Podmore’s recent article about email communications between Utah Petroleum Association, Utah Mining Association and elected officials (“Industry groups pushed lawmakers to oppose Biden’s oil lease pause despite state report showing limited impact”), one question sprung to mind: Does Mr. Podmore not understand how lobbying works or what its purpose even is? The article works very hard in its attempts at salaciousness, but a few seconds of consideration reveal the “revelations” therein as pretty pedestrian.

This is a citizen Legislature, populated entirely by part-time legislators who have to vote on a bevy of issues ranging from agriculture to zoning. We as citizens have the right to inform our elected officials of the impacts of proposed government action to our families, our neighborhoods and our livelihoods. Everyone has representation at the state capitol including associations representing preschools, nonprofits, and yes, even environmental advocacy groups who nearly pretended to faint when quoted in Mr. Podmore’s article. Any legislator worth his or her salt will take in all available information on an issue, and then use or discard it based on how they plan to vote.

Further, to me it would be embarrassing if these groups were not actively working with elected officials to ensure all impacts of federal actions are at least considered and well understood. There are impacts to jobs, tax revenue, and the economy in general. Failing to at least inform of (if not outright advocate on) the consequences of such actions would be a dereliction of duty and counter to how we hope our government is run. Mr. Podmore’s apparent pearl clutching and the theatrical bombast from environmental groups is not only misleading, it’s disingenuous.

Jesse McSwain, Woods Cross

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