Letters to the Editor, Sept. 21-23, 2016
September 20, 2016
Rep. Rob Bishop's land plan is misguided
Representative Rob Bishop held a hearing Sept. 14 before the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, which he chairs, on his Public Land Initiative (PLI) legislation. This Utah county-by-county "grand bargain" was to resolve public land use controversy but it has generated it. Rep. Bishop claims to have developed the PLI by an inclusive public process, but it was anything but. The public was frequently excluded. For example, if you live in Summit County or on the Wasatch Front you had no input on decisions for southern Utah, even if you spend time there and care about the sensitive red rock country.
There are a lot of things wrong with the PLI. First, the Summit County Council worked with local stakeholders to develop a consensus plan. The Council did an excellent job with this, but Rep. Bishop did not honor the plan and changed it to suit himself, changes that set a dangerous national precedent.
For example, the PLI undermines the Wilderness Act by allowing infrastructure for cattle to be built and maintained in Wilderness; undermines the Antiquities Act by including a companion bill that would permanently remove the President's authority to establish National Monuments in Utah; transfer thousands of acres of federal land to the state, without compensation, for development; permanently establishes livestock grazing as a priority resulting in both increased and new grazing in areas currently closed by federal land agencies due to natural and cultural resource damage; and requiring federal land managers to submit a report to Congress if they fail to follow the demands of local politicians without regard for existing management laws like the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
The PLI fails to protect 62 percent of inventoried lands that qualify and deserve wilderness protection in Utah and it rolls back protections on 170,000 acres. The PLI artificially inflates conservation acreage by over 1.3 million acres by designating wilderness in areas already protected, such as land within National Parks.
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These public lands are our national heritage. Bishop's PLI is a bad deal for Utahns, now and in the future.
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Library says book sale was a best seller
The Board of the Friends of the Park City Library would like to thank the community for once again making our Annual Labor Day Used Book Sale a success. Each year the Friends of the Library raise funds that enrich library offerings and services. Our book sale is our major fundraiser, and we couldn’t do it without you!
We would particularly like to thank those Park City workers who hauled a year’s worth of donated books from the first to the third floor of the library building in record time, to all the volunteers who answered our call to help with the sale, to Katy Wang and the Park City Film series for generously allowing us to use whatever we needed from tables to coffee pots, and to KPCW and the Park Record for all the publicity leading up to the sale.
Another way to support the library is to attend the Annual Author Luncheon on October 10 at Silver Lake Lodge, featuring Lily Havey, who was incarcerated in a Japanese-American internment camp in 1942 at age 10. Tickets are available at our Library, or online at htpps://squareup.com/store/friends-of-the-park-city-library
Jean Daly/Ann Whitworth, co-chairs
Friends of the Park City Library Book Sale
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Former student warns drugs are prevalent in Park City
I was sad to read recently that two young Park City boys died within a short period of one another earlier last week.
This letter is inspired by my experience as a young person in Park City, and I hope this letter frames some of the challenges faced by the Park City community.
I was not surprised to read that the boys' deaths might be related to drug use. Drug use, in my opinion and experience, is deeply interwoven into the town's youth culture. Drug use carries social capital in Park City, and functions as a duplicitously cheap ticket to acceptance and to forming desirable social bonds. Moreover, adolescents are susceptible to trading their health and futures for temporary popularity, or the mystique of rebellion. As such, preparing and using drugs was a reliable means of inclusion while I was a student there.
Park City's drug culture is exacerbated by the access young people have to drugs and unsupervised spaces. When I was a student in Park City, most people had cash on hand and access to debit accounts that allowed them to transact in the drug market. Moreover, when I was attending high school, there were several homes that were reliably unsupervised, and at which large numbers of children would gather. By way of example, one house was a family's second home in Park City and often unoccupied by adults. Young people would also congregate in homes of permissive parents and use drugs. If houses were unavailable, kids would drive to parking lots and drink or use drugs in their cars.
I extend my condolences to the bereaved families of the young boys. I hope Park City can continue to improve as a community and face some of the challenges that undergird this tragedy.
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Help send Rudi Kohler to the State Legislature
Utah House District 54 is a politically and economically diverse area, and for the past seven and half years we have been represented by Kraig Powell, a moderate Republican. I consider Mr. Powell a person of integrity, in part for his refusal to accept campaign funding from outside sources and business interests. Unfortunately, he decided against running again, largely because he felt he would be unable to compete with a Tea Party Republican, Tim Quinn, in the face of Quinn's large war chest – reportedly funded by the ultra-conservative Koch brothers.
Of course, objecting to out-of-state billionaires trying to buy their way into our local politics is not the only reason to vote for the Democrat, Rudi Kohler, this year. I believe his policy choices will truly be a more accurate reflection of the electorate than Tea Party dogma. In particular, Rudi Kohler stands for the following:
- Excellence in public schools
- A healthy balance between economic development and protecting the environment
- Protecting public lands and access to public waters
- A sustainable energy policy
- A health care program available to everyone
- Basing public policy regarding climate change on science and fact
- Opposition to wasting taxpayer funds on unwinnable legal battles
Many of us are extremely frustrated with what we see as crony politics in the legislature. I would mention only a few examples: relocating the State prison to benefit local developers at taxpayer expense; financial support for law breakers as long as they oppose Federal policies; attempts to overturn State Supreme Court rulings that allow access to public waters; limiting the public's right to ballot initiatives; and appropriating $53 million to build a coal loading facility in California. While it is unimaginable that any of these would be supported by a majority of Utah voters, much less the voters of Park City, Heber City, or Summit and Wasatch Counties, the super-majority party in the legislature feels that they can do as they please without any accountability. This election is an opportunity let them know they are wrong.
For all these reasons and more I support Rudi Kohler for the Utah House of Representatives, and I urge you to support him on November 8th too.
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The Public Lands Initiative is an assault on our sustainable future.
FACT: 93 percent of Utah Representative Rob Bishop's campaign contributions come from outside Utah and his biggest supporters are the oil and gas industry. Bishop's priorities are clear, and his Public Lands Initiative is nothing about what he calls, "balanced solutions, locally-driven."
The PLI is an effort to seize America's public lands so they can be privatized or auctioned for drilling, mining and logging, and it moved forward last week when Rep. Bishop held a congressional hearing about his disastrous vision for the management of Utah public lands.
The PLI bill does not balance conservation with extraction and development as Rep. Bishop claims. It is an assault on our public lands and a climate change nightmare. It transfers large blocks of federal land to the State of Utah for tar sands, oil shale, potash, coal, and oil & gas development (Book Cliffs, Labyrinth, Hatch Point, San Rafael Swell, and Uintah Basin) while offering them little meaningful protection. Its "National Conservation Areas" are riddled with loopholes, allowing for mining, deforestation projects and rampant road development. As well, the PLI proposal fails to protect the Bears Ears region adequately, and undermines the Antiquities Act as a tool to protect threatened landscapes in Utah.
The PLI is a long list of serious assaults on our long-term public interest for a sustainable future. It's important that we push back on Rep. Bishop's misinformation. Find out the facts, and why the BLM Director, the US Forest Service Deputy Chief, and the Co-Chair of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition all spoke against the PLI at the congressional hearing last week. Your voice and support in opposition to UT Rep. Bishop's Public Lands Initiative is important. The PLI is bad for wilderness, bad for public lands, and bad for climate change.