Wasatch Environmental Update; Successor to Chaffetz in 2018

Wasatch Environmental Update – April 30, 2017

By John Worlock, Member of the Board of Directors of Save Our Canyons

“Successor to Chaffetz in 2018”

It’s only the beginning  of spring, but we suddenly have a news item that suggests that it is not too early to begin thinking about next year’s congressional elections. Here is the news item: Jason Chaffetz, Congressman for Utah’s 3rd District, has announced that he will not be running for election in the fall of next year. Though that election is yet some nineteen months off, the jockeying for position for the important Republican nomination has begun in earnest.

We, at Save Our Canyons, have a particular interest in who succeeds Chaffetz in that position. Chaffetz was the courageous congressman who helped to write and then last July introduced the bill HR 5718, the Central Wasatch National Conservation and Recreation Act. This legislation grew out of the long and arduous negotiation and agreement that was called the Mountain Accord. Protection, that is, of the wildness and the beauty that have long been the hallmark of the central Wasatch. Those attributes have been the focal point of the conservation efforts of Save Our Canyons for over four decades.

That bill, HR 5718, promised to carry many of the ambitious plans of the Mountain Accord forward to fruition. It would have protected the sources of drinking water, preserved recreational opportunities for the future, and ensured the enjoyment of the benefits of the central Wasatch in the face of pressures from a growing population.

Congressman Chaffetz was important to this legislation as the territory lies within his district, and he was willing to put his energy into it, even managing to get his colleague Rob Bishop to give it a reading in the House Committee on Natural Resources. Unfortunately, the bill died with the 114th Congress, and it needs a new local champion.

Save Our Canyons will not likely have a big influence on the nominations or the election, but it behooves us to start now to interview and make our point of view know to any and all announced candidates for the 3rd District. At this point many of them will be willing to listen and learn.

Let’s go! There’s not time to waste.

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