patrick at corona
Tue Jun 20 01:29:36 EST 1995
Here in Utah, there has been a series of public hearings on Wilderness
designation under the aegis of Rep Jim Hansen, R-Utah, Enid Waldholtz,
R-Utah, governor Mike Leavitt, R-Utah, and more. Originally, they met
with special mining interests behind closed doors and sought input from
commissioners and planners from outlying rural areas as to how much land
should be designated "wilderness" and thus carry the protections that go
along with it.
No big suprize, but the miners, loggers, and cattle ranchers sought
minimal wilderness designation of a mere 1.2 million acres. The
commissioners, seeing the possibilities of "development" dollars in their
coffers, asked that NO land be designated.
The public outcry over these closed and staged "open hearings" was great
and lead to numerous REAL public hearings on the matter. A large
coalition of citizens and groups appeared at the hearings and
OVERWHELMINGLY supported a designation of 5.7 million acres. These were
NOT just a bunch of environmental "extremists" but were regular citizens.
In EVERY subsequent open public hearing, a smooth ~90% of those who
appeared favored 5.7 million acres of wilderness designation and
protection. This clearly took the representatives by suprize.
All the local news media, liberal and conservative, reported the truth,
that a vast majority of the public was clearly for 5.7 million acres
(barely 10% of all Utah land) yet the Republican REPRESENTATIVES ignored
this fact. Their constituents were quite clear on what they wanted but
the Republican members instead decided that mining companies, logging
companies, and a small number of ranchers are more important than real
voters and real people. They chose to favor the small special interests
over public desire and public interest. By the way, it is Rep Hansen who
has called for a "Park Closure Commission" based on the model of the
military "Base Closure Commission" for the purpose of closing
Rep Hansen is also quoted as saying of the Great Basin National
Monument, "that I've been there and seen it once and that was enough."
He went on to state that it wasn't HIS idea of what a park should be and
that to him, the only worthy parks and wilderness areas are those like
Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon. The rest cant POSSIBLY be any good.
This man is a philistine and a true fool. There are other Republicans in
Congress just as stupid and shortsighted, or even more so (Rep Young,
R-Alaska, for one...see "Environmental havoc" post).
This all demonstrates in the clearest possible manner that the
Republicans are not at all interested in what their constituents want
unless the constituents want to destroy the land for the sake of
squeezing out a few paltry dollars on the short term. It shows quite
clearly that they are bought and paid for by VERY narrow special interests.
As members of the public that they are SUPPOSED to represent, we have an
obligation and a requirement to DEMAND that they listen to the public and
NOT the special interests. The Utah Wilderness Debacle is just the tip
of the iceburg. The Republicans are out to ignore real citizens and only
want to serve their master, the short-term buck. Stop them. The force
of public opinion CAN bring them around to serving the people again.
Make it clear to them that they do NOT have carte blanche to do whatever
strikes their fancy in servitude to special interests.
Let Utah be a lesson and an example. They are only paying lipservice to
the idea that they serve the public.
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