ST. GEORGE, Utah The Subcommittee on Federal Lands convened in St. George, Utah for a special meeting to talk about the Bureau of Land Management’s actions regarding Resource Management Plans (RMP’s) for future development in Washington County. A panel of local leaders, including the Mayor of St. George and a representative from the BLM disagreed on the methods used in coming up with draft plans. “Congress is hearing a crescendo of complaints about BLM tactics and policies across the country and St. George seems to be a poster child of BLM bad behavior,” stated Federal Lands Subcommittee Chairman Tom McClintock (R-CA). Under it’s draft plans, the BLM is proposing to unduly restrict grazing, recreation, and other multiple-uses of federal lands. The largest complaint by local leaders is that they were entirely left out of the planning process. Congressman Bishop told the BLM directly, follow the law and do it now.
The committee also heard direct testimony from Dr James Rodd’s Son, Jay and San Juan Commissioner Bruce Adams on BLM overreach law enforcement during the pottery raids resulting in Dr Redd taking his own life.
(Salt Lake City)- Utahns are divided over whether the state should sue the federal government to gain title to 31 million acres of federal land. They also are split over the appropriateness of San Juan County Commission Chairman Phil Lyman’s 10-day jail sentence for leading the Recapture Canyon ATV protest, according to new polling by The Salt Lake Tribune and the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics. By a 13-point margin, Utah voters favor filing a suit, estimated to cost taxpayers $14 million, aimed at transferring title of public lands. Support was strongest among Republicans and conservatives, 62 percent and 68 percent, respectively; men, 53 percent; and Mormons at 55 percent. The poll included nearly 1,000.
Utah registered voters was conducted between Jan. 6 and 13, about a month after the state’s legal consultants released a report saying Utah has a strong argument based on legal principles established at the time of the nation’s founding. In another question, about Lyman’s jail sentence, now under appeal, nearly a third said the punishment was just right. The percentage of those who felt the sentence was too harsh was 26 percent — the same ratio of those who thought it was too lenient.
(Salt Lake City, UT) — Governor Herbert is being accused of racism by some Latinos after he made a Spanish reference during remarks yesterday. Talking about legalizing medical marijuana, Herbert said he was not interested, quote, “in having Dr. Feelgood out there say ya, ya, que pasa, here’s your doobie for the day, and you’ll feel better.” Social media criticism began almost immediately, though a Herbert spokesperson says he didn’t mean to offend. The aide said the governor was referencing an old George Carlin comedy routine and admitted the reference might be a little outdated. Herbert made it clear, he’s not ready to be the next Colorado in terms of legalizing marijuana for recreational use or even loose medical use. The governor is however, open to medical marijuana calling it, “a commonsense thing,”Herbert wants solid science, regulation and FDA involvement for national standards saying, “the concept of a medical marijuana and a use to help people alleviate medical problems as a controlled substance ought to be discussed and debated.”
>>San Juan County Dispatcher Won’t Be Fired
(Monticello Utah)- The Petroglyph News Blog reports The San Juan County dispatcher who was criticized for her handling of a 911 call will not be fired after all. Sheriff Rick Eldredge told KUTV CH 2News Thursday Sue Redd will instead be demoted from dispatch supervisor to dispatcher and be placed on a corrective action plan. Redd will also be suspended for 30 days, Eldredge said. She had been on leave since mid-December. “Based on the totality of the circumstances and the history of Dispatcher Sue Redd, we did not feel that the preliminary recommendation of termination was in order,” said Eldredge in an email. Eldredge had earlier recommended Redd be fired after a 911 call she answered failed to generate a police response until ten hours later.
(Coalville, UT) — Summit County officials are trying to stop Uber from flying people to the Sundance Film Festival from Salt Lake City. The company most known for its ride-sharing service is getting a lot of business flying people from Salt Lake International to Park City for the festival for a minimum charge of 150-dollars. But Summit County says Uber doesn’t have a permit to operate the flights and they want the service stopped immediately. A statement from the county says they’ve asked a judge for a temporary restraining order, calling it a land management issue.
(Salt Lake City)- The biggest land compromise proposal in Utah’s history. One million acres for development and 4 million acres for preservation. Congressmen Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz presented a talking draft of the bill Yesterday. Environmentalists say it is a bad bill. One million acres for development, 4 million for [preservation, part of the bill. The bill is already under attack by environmental groups. Bishop says one group has already produced a poster claiming sale of land behind Delicate Arch.
The bill includes expansion of Arches National Park including the Delicate Arch area. Ishop, Chaffetz and Governor Gary Herbert say they sincerely want compromise and this may be the last chance to get that compromise. Congressman Chaffetz…
David Garbett, Staff Attorney for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, says the status quo protects land and air quality better. (Audio) “I would describe this as an energy development bill, that takes wilderness protection back a step in the state of Utah and furthers the state’s land grab efforts,” Garbett said.
The bill would designate both Arches and Canyonlands as Wilderness Management areas. It would open some lands in Grand and San Juan Counties to energy and potash development and would withdraw 561 federal acres for expansion of Canyondlands Airport north of Moab. It also would creat a 42 thousand acre national recreation area in the Bookcliffs and would provide for elevated protection of the Bears Ears area in San Juan County.
(Moab Utah)- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has reached 8 million tons of uranium mill tailings removed from the Moab site in Utah under the Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Project. That is half of the estimated total 16 million tons to be shipped to an engineered disposal cell near Crescent Junction, Utah. “The first train shipment was in April 2009, so in less than 7 years, we have reached the halfway mark,” said Federal Project Director Donald Metzler. The Moab Project was able to accelerate shipments with funding received under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). “ARRA definitely gave us a boost in shipping, but since then we have continued to make steady progress on safely moving the tailings away from the Colorado River,” acknowledged Metzler. At of the end of December 2015, site employees had worked 2.5 million hours without a work-related, lost-time injury or illness, as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This record was more than 6 years in the making, as the last lost-time injury occurred in November 2009. To celebrate both milestones, site workers received fleece jackets with emblems touting “8 million tons shipped, 2.5 million safe hours worked,” provided by the contractors’ corporate offices.
(Holladay, UT) — The widow of a Unified Police officer killed last weekend says she felt nothing but love and support since the loss of her husband. Erika Barney and her children attended a candlelight vigil for her husband Doug last night in Holladay. Hundreds of people gathered at city hall to show their continuing support for the Barney family, as well as for wounded officer Jon Richey. Richey attended the vigil and said he was honored to know Doug Barney even though they’d only served a short time together. Barney’s funeral will be held Monday in West Valley City.
(Taylorsville, UT) — A man remains hospitalized after crashing his car into a DMV building and then shooting himself. Police say the man drove his RV into the building at 4501 South Constitution Boulevard yesterday afternoon and then shot himself. He was rushed to a local hospital with extreme injuries. Investigators say the man was frustrated that his drivers license had been suspended because of a DUI arrest.
(Salt Lake City, UT) — Utah’s former governor says an era of political divisiveness is threatening America’s global future. Jon Huntsman returned to Utah yesterday to speak at the tenth anniversary ceremony for the World Trade Center Utah. Huntsman said most of what he hears from presidential candidates on television is “nonsensical” and doesn’t deal with “the real stuff” people should care about. Huntsman added that today’s candidates need to “step up” and focus on goals that can heal the divisiveness between the political parties.