I would like to take this opportunity to respond to the recent letters of Mr. Maurice Anderson of Ferron, Ms. Tammy Reed of West Jordan, and Mr. Mel Coonrod of Helper that appeared in the Sun Advocate.
All made interesting comments and got me thinking about the larger discussion surrounding Nine Mile Canyon.
It's true that man is capable of greed, as Ms. Reed correctly points out; poor judgment as Mr. Anderson states; and rampant, single-minded self-interest as Mel Coonrod declares.
Individuals and groups like SUWA have cynically inflamed the debate around the rock art panels to advance a larger, no energy development agenda. That's the personification of greedy humans taking, but doing nothing in return.
On the other hand, people like Mel, local service organizations and businesses, the responsible operators like the Bill Barrett Corp. who presently work and recreate in and around Nine Mile-West Tavaputs, have quietly gone about preserving and enhancing the petroglyphs.
Millions of dollars and hundreds of man hours have been devoted to protect these artifacts by Carbon County and by the Barrett Corporation. Thanks to those improvements and those entities, damage has decreased even though traffic and viewing interest has increased, and vehicles that were never able to negotiate the road can now see the improvements first hand.
The road is straighter, expensive dust suppression has been implemented, tourist enhancements provided, and jobs created, thanks to energy development and the foresight of Carbon County.
Mel gets it right when he says that we want great opportunities for our kids, clean water and air, recreational opportunities and public services that benefit everybody. Continued energy development on West Tavaputs is the way we get there.
I disagree with Ms. Reed in that I don't believe that people-driven economic development is evil.
Human activity can be grounded in respect for the land while developing Utah resources that benefit all of us and the environment.