Facebook Twitter

OWENS CALLS LAND MANAGEMENT POLICIES FACT OF LIFE

SHARE OWENS CALLS LAND MANAGEMENT POLICIES FACT OF LIFE

Utahns who live near vast expanses of federally owned land will always be affected by federal land management policies regardless of whether new wilderness designation is tacked on several million acres of federal land in Utah, said Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah.

During a conference with the Salt Lake County Commission Monday, Owens talked of his wilderness bill, which he has tirelessly promoted while his Republican counterparts, Reps. Howard Nielson and Jim Hansen, have countered with their own proposals to designate fewer acres as wilderness.All of the land involved in Owens' proposal is in Nielson's district. Nielson sees the bill as a means of leveraging control of the land away from the residents of the counties that would be affected, Owens said. "I'm saying no, my people (in Salt Lake County) own this land too" and want to be able to see areas preserved for scenic visits.

While Salt Lake County is the urban center of the state, Owens said it has a larger percentage of wilderness than any other county in Utah. Owens wilderness bill, though, wouldn't affect any Salt Lake County acreage.

Owens' presentation to commissioners on Monday strictly was soft-sell. He asked nothing of the three commissioners but a chance to make his pitch.

Owens even promised to encourage the support of his political allies in Washington to help the county with transportation needs and with problems with the Environmental Protection Agency - which Commission Chairman Mike Stewart says has unfairly represented the county in the way it releases pollution statistics.