Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Editorial: Wilderness reversal welcome

The Obama administration made the right call in reversing its plan to have millions of acres in the West protected as federal wilderness. The December announcement angered many in the West who oppose such an arbitrary decision. It would have reversed a Bush-era policy that allowed some development of wildlands. Western governors had filed suit against that plan, announced by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and Congress, with strong Republican support, had not allocated funding or approval for the administration to implement the wilderness designations. In essence, the budget had blocked Salazar’s plan. Instead, Salazar and the Obama administration will work with Congress to craft recommendations for what lands should be protected and what lands could be used for development. Utah Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee and Utah Rep. Rob Bishop praised the administration for its new stance. And we agree with their positive sentiments. When it comes to wilderness designation in the West, where so much of the land is wild, Congress and the administration must work together. The attempt by the Obama administration late last year to circumvent Congress’ role in wilderness policy was an example of overreach by the Executive Branch. We are glad that Salazar and the administration understand that...more

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