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Letter to the editor: Response to Swenson

Executive Director
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance Moab


I'm disappointed by USA-All's attacks, in your March 24 edition, against the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, which included calling myself and my coworkers "fascists", along with a great deal of other misinformation.

As fellow Americans and Utahns, sometimes we all agree and sometimes we don't. But none of us deserves to be compared to America's enemies just because we disagree on how our public lands should be managed. USA-All's false and irresponsible language serves little purpose other than perpetuating the conflict over Utah's public lands.

SUWA has now supported two Utah wilderness bills sponsored by the Utah Congressional delegation. First, we worked with Rep. Rob Bishop for the Cedar Mountains bill enacted in 2006, and second the Washington County legislation which will probably be law by the time this is in print.

We'd like to work with the county commissioners and the public lands council to see if we can reach an agreement for public lands in Emery County as well. USA-All is one of the very few Utah interests that opposed the Washington County legislation, when everyone else agreed. We're concerned the group will try to block efforts in Emery County to reach agreement too (which may explain their misleading attack on SUWA). That of course is every bit their right-but if so, they should be honest about it, instead of attacking the folks involved.

I've been attending Emery County Public Lands Council meetings for some time now and I've been impressed by the knowledge demonstrated by members of the council, as well as their efforts to resolve public lands issues amicably.

In my discussions with members there has been disagreement at times, but the conversation has always been respectful. I appreciate that.

As I've talked with Emery County residents, elected officials and other stakeholders, I've been struck by how much we agree on keeping this place as wild and beautiful as it is today - for us, and for our children. Our fundamental values are not that much different. We may not agree on every point, and every once in a while SUWA will be a burr under someone's saddle. And vice versa. But communication, with a full understanding of the facts, is invaluable. I look forward to continuing this dialogue with the Emery County Public Lands Council and the Emery County Commissioners.

And please give me a call here in Moab if I can try to answer any questions. My number is 435-259-7049.

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