Utah Wilderness News, March 4, 2011

Who is really declaring a “War on Western Jobs?”

“The truth is that existing BLM Resource Management Plans are untouched by the administration’s new policy, which only affects future planning endeavors. The oil and gas industry is holding thousands upon thousands of acres of drilling leases without taking action, making the governor’s claims of “loss of natural resources” highly questionable. Furthermore, only 2,530 net new oil, gas, and mining jobs were created in Utah between the years of 1998 and 2008. Even during the Bush administration’s push for greater energy production, the extractive industries did not make up a large portion of the employment in Utah, and were dwarfed by the tourism sector.”  Read more – The Wonk Room

“Wild Lands” policy is beneficial to hunters and other backcountry users

“The national budget bill passed by the House of Representatives affects anyone who spends time in the backcountry — non-hunters and hunters. Anyone who cares deeply about wildlife and public access to wild spaces should be concerned about language in the legislation that prohibits the Bureau of Land Management from working with local stakeholders to conserve backcountry lands, as currently directed under the BLM wildlands order.”  Letter-to-the-editor – The Salt Lake Tribune

Hypocrisy abounds at the “Wild Lands” policy hearing

“This brings us back to the March 1st Wild Lands hearing in the House Natural Resources Committee.  Maybe the most telling part of the criticisms that were reserved for the administration and their defense of the Wild Lands policy was not for the mechanics of the policy itself, but the fact that the two headliner witnesses – Governor Butch Otter of Idaho and Governor Gary Herbert of Utah – complained that as local officials in the region, they had not been consulted by the Obama administration before Secretarial Order 3310 was issued.  An ironic place and time to utter such a criticism given how the committee was treating Director Abbey’s right to speak.  But as Congressman Martin Heinrich from New Mexico pointed out to the two governors, he did not recall in his capacity as a city council member of Albuquerque, any ‘local officials’ in the West like himself, receiving similar consideration when the Bush administration decided to eliminate the longstanding wilderness protection policy.  Furthermore, when Representative Edward Markey asked Gov. Otter whether he personally protested the lack of transparency when the Bush administration made their arbitrary decision in 2003.  Tellingly, Otter responded, ‘Of course not — I agreed with it.’   Which really says it all…if the outcome was to one’s liking, process be damned.”  Read more – Switchboard (NRDC blog)