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Sagebrush Coalition letter to Congressman Rob Bishop & Upcoming Townhall Meeting

by on July 27, 2013


United States Congressman Rob Bishop is working on legislation titled the Utah Public Lands Initiative. This plan is currently conceptual but involves losing more State land in Grand and San Juan counties to the Federal Government. The following letter was sent to Rob Bishop’s office on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 in regards to this initiative and the issue of public lands.

There will be a town hall meeting August 9 from 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Grand Center in Moab, Utah. Please join your fellow Sagebrush Rebels at this event and let our voices be heard!

Dear Congressman Bishop,

This letter comes to you on behalf of The Sagebrush Coalition and concerned citizens of Southeastern Utah. The Sagebrush Coalition is a Moab, Utah based non-profit organization comprised of a diverse group of people with personal and private concerns pertaining to state and public lands. Many of our members are stakeholders in private interests in Moab and the surrounding areas ranging from mineral exploration, cattle grazing, tourism, and recreation. Our mission is to promote balanced environmental and public land policy as well as maintain and enhance the public’s access to public lands in Utah for industry and recreation.

We are writing to inform you that we strongly oppose any legislation regarding the loss or restriction of multiple use on state or public lands in Southeastern Utah and urge you to meet with us prior to making any formal decisions on proposed legislation regarding these matters. Given that we are small rural communities whose lively hood comes from industry as well as tourism, the land we have already lost to environmental groups and the Federal Government has caused Grand and San Juan County’s economies to suffer immensely. The loss of more would prove to be irrevocably detrimental. Recent history has shown that every few years the Bureau of Land Management creates more wilderness study areas and the like without discussion or regard and we simply cannot afford to let this continue. Grand and San Juan counties already have thousands of acres of de facto wilderness or wilderness study areas. Our State lands contain vast mineral resources and serve as the destination for many locals and visitors alike who use these lands for various kinds of recreation.

The State of Utah, a sovereign entity, shouldn’t have to negotiate away our State lands to an ever-overreaching Federal Government or special interest groups to achieve “compromise.” The Sagebrush Coalition believes that we are simply moving in the wrong direction as a people if we engage in negotiations with groups that promote and serve an ideology fueled by fear instead of hope, conflict instead of solutions, litigation instead of education, emotion instead of science, and destroying rather than employing human resources.

Our organization respectfully invites you to come to Moab to tour our lands as well as meet with us regarding issues and policy pertaining to our state and public lands. We feel the economic well being of our area as well as our personal wishes as locals should be taken into consideration while your office is planning the Public Lands Initiative.

Thank you for taking the time to consider our request.


Curtis Wells



Rob Bishop-SageBrushcoalition-letter

One Comment
  1. Aaron Lawley permalink

    I think the thing pointed out to be most true in this letter is the part talking about “overreaching”.

    I grew up in Moab, and thousands of others have also. I understand people caring for the environment, but it is not the right of others to show up where thousands of others have grown up for generations and take away what they have earned. Moab was settled, built, and has flourished through the work of those who have lived there. In that time there has been hardships to establish Moab to be the internationally popular place it is now.

    It makes me sad that the government and newcomers to Moab feel they have a right to diminish the sovereignty of Utahans; more-so the residents who have lived in and established Moab. Newcomers should expect to be apart of any community they join, but they should also respect the culture in any community they join.

    Yes, there are citizens who have grown up in Moab with the same feelings that the newcomers and government have now. But that hasn’t been the majority til recently. Compromise, absolutely, is a necessity in these times of differences… but not at the cost of what is being sacrificed in Grand and San Juan county. Compromise is hardly the word to be used when only one side is benefiting.

    I refuse to let someone step into my back yard and take the land away that my father, grandfather, and many other ancestors worked so hard to achieve and “enjoy”. People may say that habitats are being destroyed, and should be protected… but at the cost of destroying the habitat that people live on? At the cost of risking livelihood?

    I totally agree that the further limitation of state lands is not only unjustified, but demeaning to the people who achieved it. Sure government provided the guidance with funds and proper allocation, but their hands weren’t there in the dirty work. Behind a desk they gave the go-ahead to allow funds to help form the town… but yet again, their hands weren’t in the hard work that established the recreational giant known as Moab, Utah.

    To newcomers and government officials… please stop “overreaching”.

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