Utah Wilderness News, March 19, 2010

Salazar pans "No More Wilderness" Settlement at House
Appropriations hearing

Department of Interior
Secretary Ken Salazar came well prepared to defend his budget choices to
the House
Interior and E
nvironment yesterday, but one thing going on
within his department was simply indefensible.

Salazar gave no
sympathy to the 2003 agreement between former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt
former Interior Secretary Gale Norton, a series of backroom talks that
the Bureau of Land Management’s authority to protect land
s that the agency has
designated as having wilderness character, a routine role of the agency
1976. Asked by Red Rocks bill sponsor Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) about a
timeline for resolving the "No
More Wilderness" Settlement
, Salazar told the committee it is “something
that is
on my mind” and is being worked on within the


“I disagree with the
Norton/Leavitt Settlement,” Salazar said, “because I don’t think it was
appropriate way for management to cede authority.”  

Salazar told the
committee that the Department of Interior was weighing its options
for an
alternative policy, from repealing the "No More Wilderness" Settlement
outright to
using other methods to protect the BLM’s wilderness lands. He said a
would be ready “in the coming months.”


Bottom line? In keeping
with the BLM’s responsibility to mix uses on public lands, there must be
“appropriate level of protection for places with wilderness character,”

-Jen Beasley,
Legislative Advocate, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance