Utah Wilderness News, April 19, 2011

BLM inventories and protections are essential, required by law

“The policy announced this year by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar did not plow new ground. It was a reinstatement of legal authority granted years ago by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, which was overridden by a legally suspect agreement in 2003 between then-Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt and Bush Interior Secretary Gale Norton. Salazar rightly overturned that agreement. The new policy says the BLM can inventory lands for wilderness quality and then seek permanent protection for them.”  Editorial – The Salt Lake Tribune

Many western elected officials don’t represent their constituents’ conservation beliefs

“In January 2011, Conservation in the West, a bipartisan survey designed to assess our core beliefs and values that relate to conservation, found that 89 percent of Utahns think clean air, clean water, natural areas and wildlife are either extremely important or very important to the quality of their life. That’s not surprising since these are necessary to the physical and mental health of everyone in our communities. Yet, decisions made by many of our elected lawmakers at all levels of government do not reflect these very strong values held by the average Utahn, the average voter.”  Op-ed – The Salt Lake Tribune

“During the hearings, some Republicans said they were carrying out the will of Westerners by saving jobs through reducing environmental restrictions and demanding that more public land be opened for mining, timber and oil companies. Yet a recent poll released by the State of the Rockies Project at Colorado College in Colorado Springs suggests that when it comes to conservation many House Republicans are out of sync with Colorado residents and other Westerners.”  Op-ed – The Denver Post

More anti-wilderness bills introduced by House Republicans

“Border patrol agents would be able to cross into sensitive wilderness areas, build and maintain roads, construct fences and patrol the areas with vehicles without fear of breaking environmental laws under a bill introduced this week again by Rep. Rob Bishop. The Utah Republican, chairman of the House Natural Resources subcommittee over federal lands, says his bill would allow border agents to secure the border without what he says are barriers — literally physical barriers in some cases — put up by public land managers.”  Read more – The Salt Lake Tribune

“McCarthy’s bill calls for removal of existing legislative protections from millions of acres of Bureau of Land Management ‘wilderness study areas.’ It also stipulates the removal of existing protections on millions of acres of roadless national forest land by negating the 10-year-old policy protecting those areas, and it repeals certain BLM policies dealing with wilderness areas in the development of land-use plans.”  Editorial – The Bakersfield Californian

Pew Report: 10 western ‘treasures’ in jeopardy

“The Pew report found that more than 8,000 claims have been staked in national forest and other public lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon since 2004. More than two-thirds of the claims on public lands near Yosemite National Park and 99 percent of the claims surrounding Arches and Canyonlands in Utah have been staked since 2005, the report said.”  Read more – The Denver Post