Chaffetz Brings Key Demo to Utah

August 5, 2014
By

c and c(MOAB Utah) The ranking democrat on the House oversight and Government Reform Committee, took a whirlwind two-day tour of Grand County, cruising the Colorado to a Sons of the Pioneers tune, with Canyonlands By Night Tours and taking in the splendor of the northern Window Arch at Arches National Park.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md acknowledged he gained a greater appreciation for Western issues. And that was the point.

Cummings was in Utah Sunday and Monday at the invitation of Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who also sits on the committee. Chaffetz toured Cummings’ home district in early July. Chaffetz said the two decided to “trade” visits to home districts to gain a better understanding of challenges that dominate the vastly different regions — and to build political bridges that seem rare in today’s Washington.

On Sunday, Cummings flew over coal country in Carbon and Emery counties, got a close-up look at Scofield Reservoir where a cabin ownership dispute is playing out with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and touched down in Moab, for the river tour. Yesterday Morning, he got an earful from a collection of rural county commissioners who detailed the critical nature of land-use decisions because of how much acreage in Utah is held by the federal government. Emery County Commissioner JR Nelson said the Antiquities Act — which gives the president the power to declare national parks and monuments — may have been a good idea in 1906, but not anymore. Lynn Jackson, Grand County Commission chairman, said revenue from a recent uptick in oil drilling has generated funds that paid for the building hosting the roundtable discussion Monday morning, and kept the hospital across the street from closing its doors.Bruce Adams , San Juan County Commission chairman was vey direct..refering to Washington, he said, “They are the enemy. They are uninformed,” he said. “That’s why it is refreshing to have your eyes and ears on the ground here.”

Chaffetz told Cummings in the roundtable discussion that it is vital Utah begin to have certainty over land use decisions involving the federal government. The pair finished up the day with a visit to Welfare Square to view the humanitarian operations of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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