Utah Wilderness News, July 19, 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.