After reading the letter on the website Oct. 24, "Herbert will wrestle control of lands from feds," it is necessary to correct a few of the letter writer's claims. I am an Ogden native and work for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.
One must understand that Governor Herbert's land grab is a two-pronged assault on public lands. The first is H.B. 148, the ludicrous bill Herbert signed, demanding the United States give to the state 30 million acres of public land, including Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The bill was deemed unlikely to stand up in court by Utah's own legal team, and is an egregious attempt to steal from all Americans the national backyard they love and a pitiable waste of time and taxpayer dollars.
Here is the second prong of the land grab, overlooked by the letter writer: Governor Herbert filed 22 lawsuits jointly with Utah counties over thousands of miles of rights-of-way supposedly crisscrossing federal lands--cow paths, old seismic lines, even dry stream beds. The state claims these are "highways," but any straight-faced judge will note many go nowhere or do not even exist--we have pictures.
Many of Utah's claims are within national parks, monuments--even in designated wilderness. The letter writer may truly believe "national parks and other pristine areas are not part of the (sic) what the state is asking for," but unfortunately, Utah seeks exactly these.
Finally, Utah's potential is not, as the letter claimed, "at a screeching halt" due to federal lands. In fact, Utah's September unemployment rate was just 5.4 percent, tied for the fifth lowest in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Jen Beasley Ujifusa Takoma Park, Md.
Jen Beasley Ujifusa
Takoma Park, Md.