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To the editor:

In his column of June 18, Joe Bauman quoted former Division of State Lands Director Pat Spurgin as Spurgin spoke about the strict federal mandate that requires the state of Utah to manage school trust lands strictly for the benefit of designated trust beneficiaries, meaning, primarily, Utah's schools.Spurgin was quoted: "It's frankly, in my view, undemocratic, because you can't respond to changes in values."

The federal mandate applying to school trust lands is virtually identical in its effect to the federal mandate that applies to designated wilderness areas. Both mandates subordinate all other uses to a single, overriding, congressionally dictated purpose.

In his column, Bauman disparages the school trust mandate as "bureaucratic socialism." If Bauman and others of like mind could bring themselves to recognize that congressional wilderness is also undemocratic "bureaucratic socialism," perhaps then some progress could be made toward resolving the acrimonious impasse in the Utah public lands debate.

Consistent failure to publicly acknowledge the unwholesome effects of spreading federal dominion, however, is an important wellspring of deep aversion that freedom-loving Utahns have against some forms of today's so-called environmentalism.

William D. Howell

Executive director

Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments