The Deseret News editorial titled "Public-lands photo policy an exercise in confusion," Aug. 18, expresses the same view as that of the Salt Lake Photochrome Club. However, we would go just a little further.
Not only should all fees be dropped but repeal of the law authorizing the fees. With the law on the books, the agencies can dig them up again in the future. This would start the whole mess over again.Not only would repeal eliminate the confusion, but it would eliminate the cost of enforcement. The high costs of writing new regulations would be eliminated. There would be less conflict between the federal agencies and the public.
The land in question belongs to the citizens of America and should be for their use as long as they do not damage it beyond normal wear and tear. Free access to photograph all federal lands would be in keeping with the freedoms outlined in the Constitution's guarantee of free speech.
It requires congressional action to repeal a law. Our club has written three separate letters to each of our elected officials in Washington, D.C. Other people and clubs have also written. There has been very little or no action.
There have been no responses from the offices of Rep. Shepherd or Rep. Orton to any of our letters. He sends his letters on to Rep. Hansen. Hansen answered our first letter saying he would monitor the situation, but we have heard nothing else.
Sen. Hatch has not responded to a single letter from our club. There is, however, one bright spot in our congressional delegation. Sen. Bennett answered one of our letters. It was great to get a reply from him and have the reply sound as if he had actually read our letters.
His response was warm, knowledgeable and interested. It is so nice to have someone in Washington who cares about the photographers in Utah.
Our congressional delegation had an opportune time to act to repeal the law. They could have attached it as an amendment to the crime bill. It would have fit right in, since it was a crime that the photo law was passed in the first place.