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To the editor:

I attended the Democratic meeting with Wayne Owens Jan. 25, in St. George. My concern has been the adverse reports heard in southern Utah about Owens' position on environment, especially his position on the wilderness issue.He reminded us that tourism is Utah's No. 1 industry. Utah does have an unmatched spectacular natural gift. Its pristine beauty is its economic value. Its the magnet that draws the tourists; it has to be preserved. People need a place to be in the midst of nature and its benefits.

Owens stressed that the economic and environmental interests are not incompatible. There are economic alternatives that are environmentally sound. There can be trade-offs, compromise and allowances to farmers and ranchers, lumber industries and miners, and these difficult problems can be resolved for the benefit of all of us, provided we approach the issues with long-term objectives.

He's been an outspoken supporter for Utah's Downwinders, the Central Utah (water) Project, protecting Utah from becoming the nation's nuclear waste repository, adequate health care for everyone no matter which type of policy is eventually decided upon, clean air and water and economic growth. I left very impressed with the candidate who seems unafraid to make tough and unpopular decisions.

Nephi Evenson

St. George