Chaffetz Supports Locally Driven Wilderness Approach

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Wednesday, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar held a listening session in Grand County, Utah to discuss public land-use designations. Among those invited to the session were members of the community and select stakeholders. The listening session focused on the Department of Interior’s latest attempt to include Utah lands in a comprehensive, Department-led wilderness report.

The Department heard from outdoor recreation stakeholders and community leaders about “crown jewel” public lands that could immediately be included in an Interior Department wilderness report. This report, led by Deputy Secretary David Hayes, is expected to be presented to the United States Congress on October 15 for their immediate Consideration.

The Utah delegation recently wrote the Secretary regarding the report. In the letter, the delegation expressed their unified opposition to the Department’s wilderness approach. The letter noted that Grand County, and 21 other Utah counties representing 99% of Utah’s BLM land, support the county-by-county process. The delegation then highlighted their involvement with local officials, environmental groups, and others to identify lands suitable for wilderness and continued multiple-use.

“I do not oppose wilderness. I support a collaborative, locally driven process of determining land-use designations,” said Congressman Chaffetz. “Utah land should not be included in the Department’s wilderness report. A process for resolving land-use issues is already underway in the state. I support the county-by-county process and will continue to work with all stakeholders – including the Secretary – to ensure the process moves forward.”

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