Letter to the Editor: Just say no to wilderness
When congress enacted the original Wilderness legislation in 1964, it seemed, to be a pretty good idea, much like all other impending environmental bills. The act envisioned about 15 million acres of already highly restricted land, containing no roads or other impacts of man, would ultimately be designated.
But over the years the political environmentalist and their friends in the judiciary mutilated this well intentioned law until it became a Frankenstein monster, intent on devouring every scenic acre in its path. Instead of being the last resort classification for the most rare and exemplary natural landscapes, Wilderness is now the default designation for all public lands, having thus far consumed more than 150 million acres with no end in sight.
Luckily we in Utah have been substantially spared the onslaught of this BLM land grabbing juggernaut except for Washington County which was sacrificed to the Earth Goddess Gaia by the closet democrat Bob Bennett who revealed his true colors by taking a job with the Wilderness Society shortly after being booted out by an unusually perceptive Republican convention.
Sadly, we are again in great danger of massive wilderness mediated, not by the political environmentalists as we might expect, but rather by lobbyists paid for by the taxpayers of Emery County! They have produced a bill that they claim must be passed in all possible haste, calling for a whopping 150,000 acres in excess of the long established and exorbitantly large Wilderness Study Areas.
This is wrong on so many levels. Here are just a few examples of why this bill must never see the light of day.
First, most of the land in question does not fit the requirements of the 1964 law. It is not pristine and untrammeled by man and contains many hundreds of miles of roads. There were thousands of mines with bull dozers crawling all over the place in the 50's and 60's. Because roads are incompatible with wilderness, the BLM's publications have gone to incredible linguistic contortions to avoid the word "road", but their "doublespeak" doesn't change the reality on the ground or make the roads vanish.
Second, all future economic development will be forever outlawed. The inhabitants of Emery County will become the servants and porters for politically correct eco-tourists, which will become the only remaining economic activity. Grazing will be banned (check the GSENM if you have any doubt of this), and meanwhile our revered President Obama has made no secret of killing coal as an energy resource. No new mining, oil exploration, or non eco-tourism development will be allowed. The people of Emery County will become trespassers on their own land; outcasts from the King's Forest Wilderness will create.
Third, wilderness designation is unconstitutional and illegally discriminatory. It violates the First Amendment by implementing religious gospels through the force of law. If you have any doubt as to the religious nature of the environmental movement and their beloved wilderness, just checkout their writings and their reverence to Earth Goddess Gaia. In addition, wilderness bans all motorized and mechanized traffic, even on existing roads, thereby shutting out every American with a mobility disability, which includes most of our elderly people and other protected populations. It's quite odd that in a time of supreme political correctness, where the rights of every minority are given almost holy status, the rights of so many other good people are dismissed without apology or even notice. Fortunately, there are a number of powerful laws and constitutional protections that, if finally invoked, can shatter the wilderness paradigm.
Fourth, the fallacious argument propelling the current wilderness crusade claims that our beloved President Obama will act if we don't designate immediately. Well, this is analogous to committing suicide in order to avoid the possibility of being murdered. Very effective but not very smart! President Obama hates Utah and will do whatever pleases the political environmentalists independent of our action or inaction. The tragedy here is that the Republicans didn't fix the Antiquities Act when they had the chance. Much of the blame goes to them (and especially to Orrin Hatch) if President Obama creates National Monuments, which, it should be noted, is not nearly as bad as Wilderness. They can be managed for multiple use and are reversible, neither of which applies to wilderness.
The people of Emery County and of Utah must to stand up and say no to this insane sellout to the political environmentalists. Remember, they will take what you give them now and soon come back for the rest. There is no compromise possible with them, ever. There is zero benefit to us in wilderness designation, which shifts total control of our public land to Washington D.C., where powerful interests inimical to Utah will always be in control. The only defensible position is no more wilderness!
So, what can we do now? First of all, we must stop squandering Emery County taxpayer's money doing SUWA's work. Frankly, SUWA has plenty of cash to lobby for massive wilderness and doesn't require any subsidy. Just have a look at the luxurious TV commercials saturating the airwaves and you'll see why. They currently are in Federal Court suing every BLM resource area to further restrict already punitive travel plans. Judge Dale Kimble recently handed down a crushing decision in the Richfield Resource Area that will close much of the meager access granted by the recent 10 million dollar RMP. With no one to oppose them, the same outcome is likely in all the lawsuits. SUWA doesn't need any additional help in their closure efforts!
Their record shows that SUWA's land confiscation program will never end! No matter what you give them, they'll always come back for more. Right now they're busy scheming in Washington to create a bunch of abusive National Monuments in Utah. Nothing the Emery County Public Lands Council does to give away our land will have the slightest effect on them. They will never be satisfied. We must demand that proposed phony Wilderness bill resulting from these efforts needs to be completely scrapped.
Everyone must contact our Governor and all members of our congressional delegation demanding there be no more wilderness. Senator Mike Lee is especially critical because typically the opposition of just one Senator can torpedo a wilderness bill applicable to his home state. Senator Hatch who has become prone to accommodating anything that increases the power of the Federal Government especially needs to hear from you.
You can get full contact information for our congressional delegation at congress.com.
Contact Governor Herbert's office and ask that the State of Utah intervene in the five ongoing lawsuits and appeal the decision in the Richfield case. Only the State is powerful enough to counter the SUWA's millions and minions.