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40577Springdale rejects public-lands bill

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  • adkramoo
    Aug 1, 2006
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      Springdale rejects public-lands bill

      Council seeks answers to its 'many objections'
      By Nancy Perkins
      Deseret Morning News
      ST. GEORGE — Copies of a resolution opposing the Washington
      County Growth and Conservation Act of 2006 are in the mail today,
      earmarked for various mayors and other elected officials throughout
      the county. The Springdale Town Council passed the resolution last week.
      "Our concerns with the bill may be very different than other
      cities, but we think some of them may be the same," said Springdale
      Mayor Pat Cluff, who took office six months ago after serving on the
      Town Council for four years. "We feel like our questions about the
      bill haven't been answered to our satisfaction, and we have serious
      concerns."
      Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, and Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah,
      introduced the proposed legislation last month in Congress. Highlights
      of the bill include setting aside wilderness and conservation areas,
      selling off 24,300 acres of public land, identifying utility and
      transportation corridors that include the Lake Powell Pipeline
      project, and protecting miles of the Virgin River under the Wild and
      Scenic Rivers Act.
      The bill will likely be heard in the Senate Energy and Natural
      Resources Committee in early September, said Washington County
      Commissioner Alan Gardner.
      "I'm not surprised that Springdale came out against the bill,"
      said Gardner, who attended the Town Council meeting several weeks ago
      to present the legislation and answer questions. "Some of the people
      speaking out against it are Realtors developing land out there. If
      we're going to say nobody else can move in here, then that has to mean
      their kids, too."
      A representative from the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance also
      attended the same meeting to make a presentation, Cluff said.
      "They were asked to come tell us the good, the bad and the ugly
      of this bill," she said. "We just felt like we didn't know enough
      about it."
      Scott Groene with SUWA said Monday that Springdale's resolution
      identifies the same concerns felt by many people over the public-lands
      bill.
      "I think this resolution is a strong indication of the problems
      there are with this legislation," said Groene. "This opposition you
      see growing in Washington County is because the bill is poorly thought
      out. It's unfortunate that Bennett and Matheson introduced this
      legislation before doing their homework."
      One Springdale Town Council member, Louise Excell, spoke last
      week at a rally held by Citizens for Dixie's Future, which opposes the
      bill in its current form.
      The Springdale resolution states the Town Council has "many
      objections to the proposed legislation," including concerns over
      future growth projections, the location of transportation corridors,
      disposal of public lands, failure to protect sensitive lands in other
      sections of the county and a lack of public input or consultation with
      local governments.
      "I just don't see what the hurry is," said Cluff. "There's no
      question we need to do something like this, and there are some
      excellent ideas in the bill. But we'd like to see more mapping, more
      detail, and we'd like more public involvement."
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