Utah Wilderness News, March 7, 2011

BLM policies should reflect Americans’ high priority on wilderness values

“Affirming the BLM’s ability to work with the public to protect lands with wilderness characteristics is not just a common-sense step, it also makes sound economic sense. Last year, hunting, fishing and other recreational uses of BLM lands generated $7.4 billion for local economies throughout the West. Conservation must be — and should be — on the table when making decisions about our public lands. It’s what the American people expect, and it’s also what the law requires.”  Op-ed – The Medford Mail Tribune

Boom and bust cycles are not caused by land-use policy changes

“More broadly, it is foolish to believe that any government policy can possibly drive economic changes as big as those experienced in Uintah County’s recent woes and more recent recovery. Rapid fluctuations in employment and growth are far more likely to be caused by global changes in commodity prices than by small alterations of public policy.”  Letter-to-the-editor – The Salt Lake Tribune 

Utah wilderness activist shares her advocacy experience in DC

“I just returned from five days on Capitol Hill, another country altogether, where a group of twenty activists—half from Utah, half from everywhere else from San Francisco to Chicago to Brick, NJ—gathered to lobby for America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, a piece of legislation that’s been growing support since it was introduced in 1989 by Utah Representative Wayne Owens.”  Read more – Progwoman

Utah is slamming the door to public participation on environmental issues

“Here in Utah, it is inconsistent to argue that advocates for a cleaner, safer world should limit themselves to lawful means of challenge while simultaneous efforts are underway to restrict or eliminate those very processes. Those who benefit economically from environmental approvals have a cushy seat at the table, while those who raise questions must stand outside in the cold and protest in vain.”  Op-ed – The Salt Lake Tribune

Identifying lands suitable for conservation is a ‘legal obligation’

“A day after telling a Senate panel that the policy does not seek to circumvent lawmakers’ authority, Salazar told the House Natural Resources Committee on Thursday that his department has a legal obligation, upheld by the courts, to identify lands suitable for conservation. He also said he would work with local communities on the best way to manage the lands.”  Read more – Great Falls Tribune 

Preserving land can curb global warming too!

“In the absence of binding legislation mandating stricter carbon emissions standards, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act, given the climate-related benefits of land conservation, may well be the most significant global warming bill Congress has passed to date. And environmentalists might have to take what they can get: With Republicans now in control of the House and gaining ground in the Senate, dedicated climate legislation may be even more elusive than analysts thought even a year ago.”  Read more – Blast