Don’t trade away public lands to become the next North Dakota

The following opinion piece ran in the Deseret News on Wednesday, Sept. 5:

No offense to North Dakota, but Utah would be ill advised to trade away its spectacular public lands to become North Dakota II. According to a recent Deseret News editorial, “North Dakota’s natural gas production and aggressive energy policy have created a sustained boom.” (“Federal land use policy preventing Utah energy independence,” Aug. 29).

Unfortunately, the editorial appears to fall into a group that views public lands as a source of shame rather than pride — like a teenager embarrassed by his family. Apparently, if only we were North Dakota (if only my embarrassing family were like my neighbors’), then everything would be cool. Proponents of this view would trade our birthright for a mess of pottage.

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