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 InteriorвЂ™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 вЂњcrown jewelвЂќ 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 DepartmentвЂ™s wilderness approach. The letter noted that Grand County, and 21 other Utah counties representing 99% of UtahвЂ™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.
вЂњI do not oppose wilderness. I support a collaborative, locally driven process of determining land-use designations,вЂќ said Congressman Chaffetz. вЂњUtah land should not be included in the DepartmentвЂ™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 вЂ“ including the Secretary вЂ“ to ensure the process moves forward.вЂќ