For the third time in as many years, Congress has passed legislation that further protects Utah wilderness!
Last month we asked you to thank your representative for supporting legislation that would prevent oil wells beneath the Fisher Towers, mines in Moab’s Goldbar Canyon or an off-road vehicle trail paralleling the Colorado River in Westwater Canyon. Now, please thank your senators for protecting these special places with their unanimous vote to approve the Utah Recreational Land Exchange Act.
The Utah Recreational Land Exchange Act, H.R. 1275, improves federal management of prime wilderness-quality and recreation lands along the Colorado River corridor. The legislation authorizes the exchange of state inholdings for federal lands in other parts of the state that are more appropriate for development and will provide revenue for the Utah school trust fund. This legislation is good for all stakeholders involved and, when added to the passage of the Cedar Mountains Wilderness Bill in 2006 and the Washington County Wilderness Bill earlier this year, represents a positive shift toward more wilderness protection in Utah.
Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT) originally sponsored the Utah Recreational Land Exchange Act in 2005 and persevered through numerous obstacles to secure its final passage this year. Sen. Bennett and Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT), the bill’s other sponsor, should be commended for their determination in finding solutions to difficult public lands issues. The Grand Canyon Trust also played a significant role in passage of this legislation as did the State of Utah’s School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration and the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources.
Every member of Congress, including those who support America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act, deserves special thanks for supporting this legislation without objection. Please take a moment to thank your senator for supporting H.R. 1275 last week, and if you are a Utahn, please send a special thanks to Sen. Bennett for sponsoring this legislation.
SUWA's Grassroots Team