Letter to the Editor: BLM’s moral obligation to protect public lands surrounding Zion National Park

This is a composite image for illustration. An oil well is overlaid on a background photo showing the Zion National Park region in Southern Utah. | Stock images, St. George News

OPINION — An open letter to the Bureau of Land Management, regarding the Saint George Field Office environmental assessment prepared for the June 2017 Oil and Gas Lease Sale in Washington County Utah; just west of Zion National Park.

It defies logic to degrade the aesthetic and ecological values of the region surrounding Zion National Park ― for that matter, any public lands bordering wilderness ― through industrialized air, noise, water and light pollution that will adversely effect (sic) local communities, and ultimately hobble whole ecosystems into token islands of biodiversity.

If the impending reality of ecological disaster and looming threat of mass extinction isn’t powerful enough to instill a desire for a reset when it comes to America’s energy needs, perhaps stable employment in rural areas ― jobs that outlast cycles of boom and bust, and the inevitable decline of global dependence on unsustainable, environmentally destructive fossil fuels ― will. Then, perhaps, we can dispense with the “irritable grasping after reason” and rekindle our legacy of profound environmental ethics that has been a source of inspiration and guidance to all the world.

Submitted by BRAD STONEBRAKER, Astoria, Queens, New York.

Letters to the Editor are not the product or opinion of St. George News and are given only light edit for technical style and formatting. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Letters to the Editor are not the product of St. George News, its editors, staff or news contributors. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them. They do not reflect the product or opinion of St. George News and are given only light edit for technical style and formatting.

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  • JJODL March 10, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    So you’re not happy with all the land tied up in national parks, national monuments, wilderness areas, etc. You seem to want all the land closed to any energy development? What is all this “stable employment in rural areas” you speak off and how does it work without energy? And if you hadn’t noticed, all energy sources are “environmentally destructive.” Would you rather see a windmill farm or solar farm in the parks to provide power. The land area needed for wind and solar is many time greater than what is needed for the production of an equal amount of energy from fossil fuels. there is no “impending reality of ecological disaster and looming threat of mass extinction.” If you would quit lying about man made global warming or climate change or what ever the lie is today, “fossil fuels” are still the most efficient energy source. I don’t mind seeing the oil production outside the parks, because I know it took that energy to build my car and fuel it so I could actually visit the parks. Why don’t you convince the citizens in New York where you live to stop using fossil fuels and see how that works out for you.

  • commonsense March 10, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    So let me understand, a guy from Queens, NY is concerned about Utah’s natural treasures. The pioneers who settled this desert started a tradition of governing which makes Utah now the model of economic growth, job opportunity and fiscal responsibility. Balance in all things “grasshopper”.

  • mesaman March 10, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    How fortunate we are to have an east coast liberal explaining to us why we should tie the entire west up for the possible visitation of these fairyland liberals. The caption is exaggerated beyond sensibility. I would think Virgin and surrounding areas would welcome the increase in employment and the revenues thereof. But then maybe they have solved pollution to their jaundiced satisfaction.

    • comments March 11, 2017 at 12:50 pm

      It would also free up a lot of revenue if we took you off the socialist welfare rolls. Remember who pays your way, Nolan.

      • mesaman March 11, 2017 at 4:54 pm

        But you see, moron, I worked for my retirement not like the socialist hand outs you are used to. I’d suggest you get a job but no one in their right mind would hire a sleaze bag.

        • comments March 12, 2017 at 11:54 am

          Nolan, I don’t doubt that you may have worked at some point in your life, but as now, you live as a parasite on a fully socialistic gov’t pension system. Do you see the irony of your constant whining about socialism. How much longer do u plan to parasite off the system?

          • ladybugavenger March 12, 2017 at 4:28 pm

            Shhhhhh, don’t blow it for me Bob, I want to be a socialist parasite!

          • mesaman March 12, 2017 at 6:54 pm

            Long enough to watch you disintegrate into the pile of pig stool that you are. A gnarly gnomish twit who snoops and poops and scoops into the dirty laundry of others. Could this be a cathexsis (Freud) in anal development?

  • Tom March 10, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    We agree with JJODL, 100%, seems there are a lot of Nuts that do not live in Utah, but some how think they know how we should run our State,

  • mater March 10, 2017 at 10:42 pm

    Dear Brad from New York
    The areas west of Zion in question have had wells in the past and can be safely and cleanly used again as a matter if fact if the petroleum sources were being used the natural seeping that occurres and makes such a mess would probably decrease but you can’t see that from your apartment can’t you.

  • utahdiablo March 10, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    Heck, bulldoze Zion down, so many tourists there now from spring break until mid December you can no longer enjoy it …..the Mighty 5 killed it for good

  • Proud Rebel March 11, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Seems like it is almost always the person who is not living in an area, and feels no economic result of federal land grabs, that are wanting the feds to do more grabbing. After all, these folks might want to visit the area again some time, oh say in fifteen or twenty years. They feel they would be traumatized to have to see any type of economic growth out west here. As long as it doesn’t affect them.

  • comments March 11, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    And yea, I’m glad the feds own most of UT, and i wish they owned more of it. I also think BLM sells far too many oil and gas leases. But who can compete with the moneyed interests of drilling companies? It goes a long way.

  • jack March 12, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    This from the ST George News. In another measure designated HCR 1, the Legislature passed its Concurrent Resolution to Secure the Perpetual Health and Vitality of Utah’s Public Lands and its Status as a Premier Public Lands State. The House passed the resolution 24-4 and the Senate passed it 58-11. All Southern Utah legislators voted to approve the resolution seeking to give the state greater control over public lands and its resources.

    The resolution also scales back the threat of suing the federal government for ownership of the public lands and instead calls on Utah’s congressional delegation and state leadership to work with the new Trump administration on this issue.

    This seems like the best path to me. The Public Lands need to be open for the state to make money but remember to leave roads open for four wheeling, camping, and mineral collecting instead of having them open to young healthy hikers and government workers only.
    The exagerated pumps put in the headline picture is not anything like what they would look like.

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