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County Initiative 1: Argument Against

By MARK H. WILLIAMS


"Fool me once, shame on you!"

"Fool me twice, shame on me!"

Before voting, remember how they fooled us once. January 26. A poorly-publicized Saturday night meeting. Governor Leavitt "just happened" to be there. That's when Leavitt and county officials revealed this 621,000-acre monument. "Only a proposal," they said. We'd have "plenty of time" to consider it.

What happened?

Fourty-eight hours later in his "State of the State" speech, Leavitt said: "I'm proud to announce that local and state officials will formally request that the President . . . create the San Rafael National Monument . . . this proposal is the product of seven years of intense negotiation involving many stakeholders . . . We will release tomorrow details of this proposal . . . And members of the Emery County Commission and the Public Land Council are here tonight to formalize this request."

It is claimed for a year only about a dozen County officials were SECRETLY developing it . . .

Now they're trying to fool us again.

Because voters increasingly realize it's such a bad idea, they're now claiming it's "not a specific proposal," with "no specific acreage." "Just a planning process." Trust us." But they issued a map and calculated acreage. Leavitt clearly was pushing a specific proposal.

They're claiming it's "this monument or wilderness." Don't be fooled! They're totally separate processes. Legally, only Congress designates wilderness. It can - and has - done it in monuments!

Truth is, it makes massive wilderness more likely. Look at history. Environmentalists got everything they wanted when Clinton ambushed Utah and designated Grand Staircase Monument. But AFTER it was created they've actually INCREASED the wilderness acreage they're demanding Congress create inside it! They've already said they'll try to do the same to us.

They talk about Bush "protecting" us for "generations to come." But they won't put these "guarantees" in writing. And they'll only admit when forced to that what one president does ANY FUTURE president can undo. With the stroke of his pen.

Because it's that easy, wilderness extremists would undoubtedly pressure a future "greenie" president to drastically change Bush's monument. The result? Something easily MUCH WORSE than Grand Staircase. This proposal doesn't cut it. It can't be salvaged. We've GOT to make them start over. From scratch. Openly. Honestly. Realistically. Considering ALL alternatives, like several small monuments instead. With agreement AMONG US on what's best BEFORE any outsiders are brought in.

Only voting AGAINST achieves that. Because, finally, you must understand: if a majority votes "For," this ill-conceived proposal takes on a life of its own. National forces will start shaping it. No matter what they say, it'll largely be beyond our control.

Fortunately, it's NOT a "done deal." Federal officials promise they'll drop this proposal if we vote it down.

Proponents claim this may be our "last chance" to control our destiny. Hogwash! Bush has two more years, anyway. It'd only take a few weeks to create a monument, if we ultimately decide that's best for us.

It's our future!

Make them plan it right!

Vote AGAINST

(The arguments for or against Initiative 1 are the opinions of the authors.)





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