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Give Owens credit for bill

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One thing I noticed in former Rep. Jim Hansen's op-ed piece on wilderness legislation (April 14) was the distinct absence of any mention of Rep. Wayne Owens. Mr. Owens was the original author of the wilderness bill Mr. Hansen writes about. Lest Mr. Hansen forget, Mr. Owens was a native son of Utah. And now that Mr. Owens is no longer in Congress, the proposal has no merit? I refuse to accept that idea.

Furthermore, Mr. Hansen needs to remember that the lands in question are federal lands. As such, they belong to all Americans, not just the citizens of Utah. Thus, we all have an interest in their protection. There was significant local opposition to the creation of most of Utah's national parks. Now the state is justifiably proud of them. Same-state sponsors may be "best," but they should certainly not be mandatory.

Michael J. Painter


Californians for Western Wilderness