ST. GEORGE — Despite being on probation for leading an ATV protest ride in 2014, San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman announced Tuesday he is running for the state Legislature.
Lyman, who said his priorities include championing states’ rights and fighting against environmental groups, is running for the seat of Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, who announced his retirement after 16 years in the Legislature. Environmental groups and outdoor companies like Patagonia are pushing their agendas on rural Utah, Lyman said.
“I hope to follow in Mike’s footsteps and continue his efforts and have his advice or counsel,” Lyman told St. George News, before adding he considers Noel a “great friend.”
Lyman spent 10 days in jail and is currently on probation for illegal use of ATVs and conspiracy after leading a 2014 ATV protest through Recapture Canyon in San Juan County. Federal officials had closed the canyon to motorized vehicles due to Native American cliff dwellings in the area.
Being on probation will not be a hurdle for running for the Legislature, Lyman said.
“The law right now is used to go after people who are against the environmental agenda,” Lyman said. “(As a legislator), I want to make sure there is less regulation and equal treatment for all under the law.”
Noel is asking President Donald Trump to pardon Lyman — an idea Lyman said he supports.
“Part of me thinks I don’t need a pardon because I didn’t do anything wrong, but it would be a nice statement,” Lyman said. “Giving me a pardon would be the right thing for Trump to do.”
Though he said it would be a challenge to get the federal government to reopen protected areas like Recapture Canyon, Lyman said he would seek to prevent the federal government from intruding on the “rugged landscape and quiet enjoyment” of public lands in San Juan County and across Utah if he’s elected. Ranching, mining, recreating and logging should be allowed in public lands in Utah, Lyman said.
So far, Lyman is the only person to announce he’s running for state House District 73, which covers several rural counties across Southern Utah.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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