Wasatch Environmental Update for May 20, 2018
By John Worlock
“Rep. Curtis and Sen. Hatch Have Hatched a Bad Egg!”
We are disappointed to discover that Utah’s new member of the House of Representatives, John Curtis, has fallen into lockstep with his colleagues in the Utah Congressional delegation. He, after a few months in office, is sponsoring a bill that brags about having been over two decades in preparation. He’s teamed up with Senator Hatch to sponsor a bill designated HR5727, with the nickname “Emery County Public Land Management Act of 2018.”
Emery County, indeed! We’ll admit that Emery County is within John Curtis’s new legislative district, but the publicity surrounding the introduction of HR 5727claims that it has been under study for some 23 years, while until recently John Curtis has been mayor of the City of Provo. It also suggests that this bill has the backing of a variety of interests and is modeled on the bipartisan and successful Matheson-Bennett bill for Washington County in 2009. But in fact, it resembles Congressman Bishop’s recent abortive attempt to create some agreement about the uses of federal lands in Southern Utah. The failure of Bishop’s legislation contributed to the pressure leading to the creation of the Bears Ears National Monument.
HR5727: We can praise this bill for designating a stretch of the Green River as a Wild and Scenic River, and for finding ten bits of the landscape to be worthy of being designated Wilderness. But our applause dies as we discover that there are even more world-class landscapes that are given paltry protection under the guise of a National Conservation Area whose creation is riddled with anti-conservation language.
We haven’t the time to delineate all the failures of HB5727, and if you have difficulty finding the actual bill online, we suggest that you visit the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance at s u w a dot org, and read the testimonies that they offer. Once you have understand the threat of HB5727, it would be appropriate to contact your congressional delegates, even though we are sure that none of them will be swayed by public opinion on this issue affecting our federal public lands in Utah. They won’t acknowledge the smell of HR 5727, the bad egg that Curtis and Hatch are trying to hatch.
But give it a shot! Why not?