Daily News - Page 20 of 32

  • July 19th, 2010

    BLM's new boss in Utah

    Juan Palma, the U.S. Bureau of Land
    Management’s new state director for Utah, says he is ready for the hot
    public-lands debates waiting for him.

    Palma, 55, took
    the oath of office last week to replace Selma Sierra, who retired. In remarks at
    his swearing-in at the Salt Lake City Main Library, Palma put conventional and
    renewable energy development on public lands high on his agenda. And he said
    answers to vexing conflicts between development advocates and wilderness
    proponents are challenges, not obstacles.

    “To me,” Palma said after BLM
    Director Bob Abbey administered the oath, “it’s all about people. I love to come
    to work and think, ‘How in the world am I going to solve this

    It’s a tall order in Utah, where the BLM manages almost 23 million acres of
    public land and 35.2 million acres of subsurface mineral estate ­— and where
    Palma has owned
    a home since 2003.

    Utah also is
    where oil and gas developers, ranchers, river runners, off-highway vehicle
    recreationists, wildlife advocates and wilderness proponents have been locked in
    virtual civil war for decades.

    Read more at The Salt Lake Tribune.

  • July 14th, 2010

    Guv cheers, jeers federal lands agency

    The often-contentious — yet vital — relationship between Utah’s
    Republican dominated government and Democratic federal land managers was
    on full display Tuesday.

    His sit-down with Salazar was a follow-up to a visit Salazar made to
    Utah in April. They discussed developing renewable energy on Utah’s vast
    public lands and “the importance of harnessing conventional energy
    resources in the right ways and in the right places,” according to a
    summary of the meeting provided by the Interior Department.

    Read more at The Salt Lake Tribune.

    Counties say unpublished reports will strengthen their case against Salazar

    Three Utah counties fighting the U.S. Department of the Interior over
    the withdrawal of 77 lease parcels from a 2008 lease sale say they have
    new evidence that secretary Ken Salazar had no right to do so.

    In 2008, the SUWA coalition argued the BLM didn’t properly follow
    environmental laws when compiling long-term resource management plans
    for the Moab, Vernal and Price regions that set up the sale of 77
    environmentally sensitive parcels on 103,000 acres of public land. 

    Read more at The Salt Lake Tribune.

    Counties hammer out conservation plans

    It may have happened 14 years ago, but the fury over President Bill
    Clinton's surprise creation of the Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument
    remains with state and local officials who still mourn the "loss" of
    nearly 1.9 million acres.

    For that reason, many area county officials have looked at cobbling
    together their own land conservation plans that set aside wilderness,
    reasoning that if they do it first, the federal government will have no
    reason to swoop in with an arbitrary designation.

    When a U.S. Department of Interior memo was "leaked" earlier this year
    about the possible creation of more than a dozen new national monuments —
    including two in Utah — the howls of outrage began again.

    "Land conservation is not a one-size-fits-all proposal. We decided to
    let this sit for a bit and come back later to get a working group
    together."Similarly, in Emery County, there are efforts to run
    legislation to designate some wilderness. Ray Petersen, the county's
    public land administrator, said officials are still in the process of
    identifying those potential wilderness areas and are working with the
    staffs of all Utah's congressional delegation to keep them informed."

    Read more at The Deseret News

    Salazar defends pulling oil-lease parcels in Utah

    Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Tuesday defended his decision to scrap
    much of the Bush administration's final oil-lease sale in Utah even
    though his inspector general found no evidence of department pressure to
    rush the auction.

    Salazar has criticized the auction as a rush job that threatened Utah's
    most magnificent landscapes, including parcels around artifact-rich Nine
    Mile Canyon and along the high cliffs of whitewater sections of the
    Green River.

    "There was plenty wrong with the land-use plans that supported the lease
    sale, and with the lease sale itself, as the court's order
    demonstrates," said Heidi McIntosh, associate director for the Southern
    Utah Wilderness Alliance. "Those plans were thousands of pages long, and
    all came out within weeks. So there was pressure from somewhere."

    Read more at The Associated Press

  • July 13th, 2010

    SUWA releases list of "Utah's Ten Most Threatened Wilderness Treasures"

    "We agree with SUWA that the BLM, now under
    the authority of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, should undertake more
    thorough assessments of the regions addressed in the plans. If that
    requires further public comment and hearings, so be it. These historical
    treasures deserve protection.

    SUWA points to 10 areas most in need of
    designation as wilderness study areas: Cedar Mesa-Comb Ridge, Vermilion
    Cliffs-Upper Kanab Creek, Moquith Mountain, Dirty Devil Country, Glen
    Canyon-San Juan River, the Canyonlands basin and rims east of
    Canyonlands National Park, Labyrinth Canyon, Upper Desolation Canyon,
    Factory Butte and Price River-Long Spring Wash."  Read more at The Salt Lake Tribune.

    Also, see The Salt Lake TribuneThe Deseret NewsKSLFox 13 News, and The Standard Examiner

    Video Courtesy of KSL.com

    Bagley  Courtesy The Salt Lake Tribune

  • July 7th, 2010

    The Gulf isn't the only place in need of attention from the Interior Department

    "Salazar told a House subcommittee in
    March that he disagrees with the “no more wilderness” settlement and that he is
    working on a resolution. It’s time to complete that work and issue a secretarial
    order restoring BLM’s authority to designate potential wilderness areas and
    protect them pending final decisions by Congress."  Read more – Center for American Progress

  • June 21st, 2010

    San Juan County wilderness protection is vital to all Utahns

    Wilderness stewardship is intimately intertwined with living
    ethically, living mindfully and living with restraint. As the "Faith and
    the Land" dialogues made clear, what makes good ecological sense makes
    for good theology too. This idea can unite rather than divide us.

    The wild lands of San Juan County are too
    precious to allow a small number of people to settle their future. Give
    all the people of Utah a chance to be heard.

    Read more at the Deseret News 

    Wilderness after Senator Bennett 

    In the past, the Utah legislature
    hasn't been friendly to the idea of wilderness, and it's an open
    question whether a proposal similar to the Washington County bill could

    Will Bennett's successor pick up the
    wilderness issue? A question of ideology is important to one of the
    candidates who defeated Senator Bennett at the convention. Mike Lee
    cites a section of the U-S Constitution that he says lays out a critical
    step in making public lands decisions.

    Lee's opponent, Tim Bridgewater, is
    less rigid on the legal structure, but he's also not ready to push ahead
    immediately on wilderness bills.

    Read (and hear) more at KUER