Dems Pushing to Preserve Park Viewsheds in Utah
While Utah's congressional delegation seems to value energy exploration more than landscape values and viewsheds, there's a congressman from New York who believes something needs to be done to preserve the views around Arches and Canyonlands national parks as well as Dinosaur National Monument.
Representative Maurice Hinchey, a Democrat, has asked Dirk to block oil and gas drilling on about 9 million acres in Utah. During a hearing on the Interior Department's budget yesterday Hinchey said that in the past four years the Bureau of Land Management leased 125,000 acres in areas around those park units that he and conservationists believe merit wilderness designation.
"The situation that we're confronting here are large numbers of acres that are eligible for wilderness designation but are nonetheless being sucked up by these leases," the congressman told Dirk, who was non-committal in his reply.
In a bid to do an end-run around the Interior Department, Hinchey plans to reintroduce his so-called "America's Redrock Wilderness Act," which would designate the 9 million acres as wilderness. Last year the measure gained 160 co-sponsors, but, to no surprise, none from Utah. And it'll take a lot more than 160 co-sponsors to move this legislation anywhere.