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People like myself in southern Utah were outraged about the new Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. We were told it would not affect our way of life much. Well, now the environmentalists want to stop a timber sale in Jacobs Swale because it is "in sight" of the monument.

If the environmentalists stop the sale because of some old rhetoric that has been around for 20 years, it will put the people in the sawmills out of work. It will also put the truck drivers that haul the wood out of work. That to me sounds like a big flaw in the small economy of southern Utah.A point I would like to make is that old trees need to be cut down. When they get old, the big limbs block the sunlight so the seeds on the ground cannot germinate. Also a beetle and mistletoe will kill this forest anyway. If we cut down the old, nearly dead, mature trees this will allow sunlight to make the seeds grow. In time, we will have a young, healthy forest, but if we have all those old trees it will make the forest a fire hazard.

We gave the people who don't support the sale 1.7 million acres of land. The coal we could've retrieved from that area would have made a lot of money, made jobs and helped the economy. Now they want 6,500 acres of land that isn't even part of the monument, which the people of southern Utah could use to promote jobs and a better economy.

The only thing I have to say to the people who want the sale "axed" is that honest, hard-working people are still trying to make a living off the land in southern Utah, and you environmentalists are taking it away from us.

Remember, all you wilderness supporters, don't burn coal, natural gas or wood in your furnaces or build your houses out of wood. And please don't eat anything that is produced off the land.

Stuart Coombs