Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Ex-Sen. Bennett to help Wilderness Society

Former Sen. Bob Bennett plans to consult with The Wilderness Society to reproduce a much-touted law he shepherded while in office that brought together environmentalists, developers and local officials in a landmark deal preserving hundreds of thousands of acres in southwestern Utah. Bennett, who formed his own consulting firm in January after leaving his 18-year Senate perch, said Monday he formed a working relationship with the environmental group and has been asked to help it replicate his effort elsewhere. “I’m hoping that we can, over the next few years, see this whole wilderness [controversy] thing calm down and see itself resolved,” the Utah Republican said. “Too many people on both sides of the controversy have a vested interested in keeping the controversy going.” Bennett, in tandem with Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, helped settle a long battle between those aiming to preserve open space in Washington County and those seeking to develop areas in one of the nation’s fastest-growing locales. The final bill, which drew support from all sides, set aside 256,000 acres for protection while opening up other areas for development. Other local officials — including those from San Juan, Piute and Emery counties — soon entered into conversations about their own bills modeled on the Washington County measure. Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar has said he is a big fan of such an effort and pointed to it as a model in working out wilderness agreements...more

No comments: