Utah Wilderness News, June 14, 2011

From a Utah: Utah public lands belong to all Americans

“It’s unfortunate that so many Utahns and most of our congressional delegation regard the pubic lands inside our state’s borders as belonging to us. They’re right of course, but the problem is that these lands belong to all Americans, not just to us Utahns.”  Letter-to-the-Editor – Standard-Examiner

Obama should not be willing to trade away land and water protection in budget deals

“Babbitt pointed to GOP policy riders in the April continuing resolution that kept the government open, one of which defunded an Interior Department program that would have studied federal land to determine whether they require legal protections. And Republicans lawmakers, he warned, still want to chip away at the president’s power to declare national monuments and to remove restrictions on the millions of acres protected as wilderness study areas, among other things. Which they might be able to do if those sympathetic to environmental concerns keep quiet about conservation during budget negotiations.”  PostPartisan Blog – The Washington Post

National monument designation in Utah at risk from new legislation

“Aimed at preventing a repeat of former President Bill Clinton’s creation of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah — a move that state leaders considered a stealth attack on Utah’s coal reserves and local control — the Utah Lands Sovereignty Act would require congressional authorization for creation of new monuments in the state. It essentially voids the president’s powers under the 1906 Antiquities Act, at least within Utah.”  Read more – The Salt Lake Tribune

Federal judge tells Fish & Wildlife Service to further review protection for rare wildflower

“The Graham’s penstemon range is narrow but happens to parallel some prime areas for oil shale development and oil and gas drilling, particularly in Utah. (A cousin of the plant, the rare Parachute penstemon, has been a key battle point in the gas drilling targeted for the Roan Plateau). Miller’s decision sends the issue back to USFWS for further review, which could lead to greater protection for the plant (and another hurdle for energy development in the Uinta Basin) when a final rule is issued in another year or so.”  Read more – Denver Westword