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Front Page » March 9, 2010 » Opinion » Grand staircase San Rafael
Published 1,687 days ago

Grand staircase San Rafael


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By TOM MCCOURT
Sun Advocate Columnist

Jeepers, to quote Yogi Berra, it's like deja vu all over again. We recently discovered that our president has been secretly plotting to create national monuments in Utah without notifying our governor and congressional delegation.

You will remember that Bill Clinton did the same thing back in 1996 when he created the Grand Staircase Escalante.

A copy of a secret report was leaked to members of congress last month. The report lists more than a dozen prospective monument sites in 11 western states. Some or all of those sites are destined to receive federal "protection" under Obama's watch. The report doesn't say it, but our president's global warning cap and trade initiative appears to be dead on arrival and he needs to score some points to keep the green people happy. The report recommends that the San Rafael Swell and Cedar Mesa, in San Juan County, be made national monuments by presidential decree. Utah's governor and congressmen are understandably outraged.

Clinton locked up 1.9 million acres of Utah in his Grand Staircase Escalante. He did it with a stroke of his pen, without any warning, public input or debate. Being a spineless and stealthy commander-in-chief, he came all the way to northern Arizona to make the surprise announcement, dropping a bomb on fellow Democrat, Bill Orton, one of the best congressmen we ever had, in my humble opinion. Orton was defeated in the following election because people blamed him as well as Clinton.

And then, just last March, Senator Bennett and Rep. Matheson helped engineer a wilderness bill that traded another 256,000 acres along the Virgin River in Washington County for a "green belt" near Park City and "land for development" near St. George and Bryan Head ski resort. A good deal for SUWA and St. George land developers, but a bad deal for the rest of Utah, the way I see it. A proud Bob Bennett called it his best environmental legislation to date. We've got to get rid of this guy.

And now, less than a year later, Obama wants to lock up another two million acres of the Beehive State. Actually, the feds say they haven't decided on the exact acreage yet, but Cedar Mesa covers 400 square miles and the San Rafael nearly 3,000 square miles. You do the math.

Giving Utah land to the environmental lobby for appeasement and political payback has become fashionable for leftist politicians. There is little risk. Utah is a conservative state and Obama doesn't expect to get our votes anyway. Mandating wilderness is a way to win big city votes. To do wilderness by presidential decree is faster and easier than opening the process to congressional debate, and who cares if the people of Utah are upset. Everyone knows the whole state should be a national park. Get over it.

Sadly, Emery County has tried to compromise with the feds for a long time. They have offered to surrender large sections of the Swell for assurances they can develop other parts to help the county economically. But it's been like trying to make a deal with the devil. The government doesn't play fair. We've learned by hard experience not to trust them. This recent revelation underscores that fact.

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of this crap. I'm tired of having the land I love locked up by bureaucrats who live 2,000 miles away. I'm tired of not having a say in the process. I'm tired of politicians who do not represent me. I'm tired of federal encroachment on state's rights and county sovereignty. I'm tired of the haughty smugness of rich, elitist nature Nazis who think nothing of ruining rural economies, towns, and people to save minnows, moths, and algae-tinted dirt.

I'm tired of finding roads I have traveled since childhood closed behind BLM no-trespassing signs. I'm tired of perpetual defacto wilderness under the guise of "wilderness study areas." I'm tired of watching my sons and their friends move out of state to find work because we can't mine coal or drill for oil and gas.

I'm tired of paying three dollars for imported gasoline when my nation sits on larger oil reserves than Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq combined. I'm tired of my nation being indebted to Arab kings and the communist Chinese. And while I'm at it, I'm tired of pressing "1" to speak to someone in English.

Are you listening, Mr. President, Ms. Pelosi, Bob Bennett and Orrin Hatch? Hello...is anyone there? Is anyone listening?

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March 9, 2010
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