American Elephants

The Obama Administration Has to Cough Up Their Secret Documents by The Elephant's Child

The Red Rock Wilderness Bill is an environmentalist proposal that covers 10 million acres of land in Utah.  This is an area in Southern Utah where you have Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, the Paria Canyon Wilderness Area, Canyonlands National Park, the Dark Canyon Primitive Area/Wilderness Area—22 percent of Utah lands are already off limits to any economic activity. 75% of Utah land is public land, only 24.8 % is in private hands. Naturally a lot of apartment dwellers in large cities are anxious to make more of the country into Wilderness. They like knowing that it is out there, being wild.

So it’s not as if huge areas of red rock are not being preserved. The 10 million acres would be composed of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and areas adjacent to Capitol Reef National Park, Canyonlands National Park and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. It is another federal land grab, attempting to lock up more land.

A major problem is that the federal government does a lousy job of taking care of their public lands. The epic forest fires so far this year are an example. Environmental organizations fight any use of DDT to combat the pine beetle, they oppose logging to thin forests,  They oppose removal of underbrush, they demand roadless wilderness so fires are hard to get to. And the Obama administration has canceled a government contract for aerial firefighting tankers from more than 40 to just 11, ending a 50-year relationship between Aero Union , which provided the planes, and 60 jobs, fighting fires. Aerial tankers are not a complete answer to wildfire, but they sure are a help.

Environmentalists constant drive is to lock up more land as “wilderness” to make sure that there is no economic activity. The aim is to force more of the population into compact large cities, and leave the area between as wilderness, with corridors to other cities, except for some necessary, heavily regulated farms. Of course they really want to get rid of the people as well. Back to the Pleistocene!

The Red Rock Wilderness Bill has been around since 1989, has never passed, and gradually doubled the size of the land area they desire to lock up. Now that the Obama administration is so opposed to any development of fossil fuels, it seems like a good time for them to try again.

The bill has this time been introduced by the always compliant Illinois Senator Dick Durbin (D), and New York Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D). You will notice that neither gentleman is from Utah. The Utah delegation is solidly opposed, as are all officials in Utah. 75.2 % of Utah lands are public land, only 24.8 is private land. Seems to me that the opinions of Utah legislators should carry considerably more weight than Dick Durbin or Maurice Hinchey.

This comes up today because Utah scored a small victory against the federal government, and the court has ordered that documents pertaining to the Red Rock Wilderness Bill now be made public. The federal government argued that they could keep secret, documents that showed whether its decisions are legal. They just refused to answer any questions.An interesting position.

It seems there is oil and gas in the Uintah Valley, lots of it. Washington’s misguided policies are to restrict access to America’s vast reserves of affordable oil and natural gas, and the federal government is again trying to pull a fast one. Unemployment has soared in the area, thanks to an “executive order” by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to protect land with “wilderness characteristics” so that the BLM could illegally prohibit development on a 385,000 acre area in Uintah County. The mystery clears. There is oil and gas in the Uintah Valley and the environmentalists don’t want anybody drilling. for nasty fossil fuels. Figures.

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Ward said the wild lands policy flouts provisions of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) directing BLM to manage its lands consistent with local plans. Instead, BLM has implemented “de facto” bans on oil and gas drilling and other multiple uses in areas proposed for wilderness protection, plaintiffs contend.


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