Stop Noel’s Gag Order On Conservation. NO on HB136

Yesterday at the committee hearing for Rep. Noel’s HB 136 Federal Designations, the most bizarre thing happened. The Committee Chair, Rep. Stratton, required all public speakers to be sworn in, warning the public that any comment found inaccurate or untruthful would result in a charge of a second-degree felony. This swearing in under threat of a felony was not required of the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Noel, or of legislators speaking to the bill.

It’s a double standard that exemplifies the hubris of the House Natural Resources Committee and illuminates the contempt for public input – particularly input that runs counter to the opinions of Rep. Stratton, Noel, and many of their colleagues.  The bill under discussion, HB 136, is another fine example of the effort and length Rep. Noel will go to in an effort to silence those with whom he disagrees.

Click here to sign on against Noel’s HB 136

A number of mistruths were stated by Rep. Noel during the bill’s introductions wherein he took acute aim at the Wasatch Mountains. Noel falsely stated that 80,000 acres of Wilderness were being designated by the Central Wasatch National Conservation and Recreation Area Act. The CWNCRA only establishes 7,000 acres of new Wilderness in the Central Wasatch. No mentions were made of the numerous other benefits of the bill nor of the collaboration and consensus which the bill resulted from. You can view a map and the legislation for yourself here: Map

Rep. Noel also stated that the Mountain Accord process “flew under the radar of the State” with no engagement. This is quickly proven false by reviewing the Accord
document which has the signatures of the Governor, the director of the DEQ, UDOT’s regional director, two representatives from the State House of Representatives, and the President of the Utah Senate. The Central Wasatch National Conservation and Recreation Area Act was co-sponsorship in Congress of three members of Utah’s congressional delegation.

We of course can’t say whether Noel’s conjuring of this misinformation was intentional, but we do know it’s misinformed and irresponsible. Noel, a rural legislator from Kanab, is misrepresenting a five-year processes which took place in the most urbanized region in the State and which he had absolutely nothing at all to do with. It also appears that Noel is getting his misinformation from a few opponents of the Mountain Accord, one of which has financial interests in seeing additional development in the canyons and who has long worked with canyon water and land speculators.

Noel’s HB 136 puts arduous requirements on an already complicated, and rigorously public processes. Federal Designations requiring working with the US Congress, passage through Rob Bishop’s House Natural Resources Committee, the U.S. Senate, commitments from local officials and communities, forging agreements with the United States Forest Service and a myriad of other interest groups from recreationists to water departments.

To date, that process for getting support for federal designation has been to gain the support of local communities and counties, this has been our course of action for the past five years. Now, Noel is moving the goal posts. That’s not collaboration — that’s unnecessarily fanning the flames that are engulfing national discourse on the future of our public lands.

Contact your state representatives NOW. Tell them to stop HB 136 and to support the protection of the Wasatch. Contact your county and city officials, tell them that Rep. Noel can’t be allowed to limit their ability to advocate for the protection of public lands within and near their jurisdiction.

2 responses to “Stop Noel’s Gag Order On Conservation. NO on HB136

  1. It is unfortunatle Trump has brought out both hate and supreme ignorance by his election. Local politicians are going to find out a differenct story in 2018. Proposals by people such as Rep Noel reek of Nazi take over of the German government, Rep. Noel’s actions are repulsive in a democracy.

  2. Brigham Young himself warned us of this eventuality, if SLC leaders won’t listen to his warning they won’t listen to anyone.

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