Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Ed Markey (D-MA) and Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) have once again introduced legislation (H.R. 1187, the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act) that would designate a massive 23 million acre area across five states (Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming) as wilderness. This means each of these 23 million acres would be made permanently off-limits to motorized and mechanized recreation, including off-highway motorcycles, ATVs, ROVs (side-by-sides), 4x4s, snowmobiles and mountain bikes.  It is particularly important to note that the lead sponsor, Rep Maloney, represents Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn in New York City, yet has introduced legislation that would have an economic and social impact on millions of Americans who live, work and recreate on or near the lands in question.  In a particularly ironic twist, Representative Maloney and the other cosponsors will not accept emails from anyone who does not live in their districts.  So, these Members seek to force the most restrictive land management on millions of Americans, but will not listen to their concerns.

Last week, the Secretary of the interior, Ken Salazar, visited Moab. USA-ALL has representation at that meeting. Below is a quick report on what happened. We want to thank Dave Cozzens for representing us there and to Jeramey McElhaney for his write up on the meeting.

Jeramy’s report:

On Wednesday, September 28th Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar visited Moab for the purpose of looking at a proposed wilderness area, MillCreek Canyon, and to receive public input regarding conservation and jobs created through outdoor recreation.  The meeting was held at the Moab Adventure Center, beginning at about 4:30 pm with about 100 people in attendance.

Secretary Salazar gave a few brief remarks on the importance of conservation, and gave a couple of models showing how different communities have grown their economies with outdoor recreation created jobs. He also spoke of his visit to Vernal, Utah earlier in the day and his self-proclaimed pro-drilling stance.

The pro-access group easily outnumbered the environmentalists; I would say by nearly a 2:1 ratio, and as such our comments/questions came up more frequently. Most of the questions had to do with recent road closures in our area by the Forest Service, BLM, and the National Park Service. To some extent, Secretary Salazar agreed with every one of the questions dealing with restricted access.

He also received a few questions from the environmentalist side, and miraculously, the Secretary agreed with all of their questions except for one.  A question was brought up asking if the Secretary would ask President Obama to Pardon Tim DeChristopher, and if not, why.  Secretary Salazar said, without hesitation, “No, I would not, because I believe in the rule of law in this country…” This produced applause from the group, but basically nothing new was introduced at the meeting.

Essentially, it was a lesson in political speaking, and nothing more. While appearing to agree with everyone, Secretary Salazar still has his own agenda, and he will continue to try to implement it. A person’s actions show their true intent much more than a person’s words. Remember the ‘Wild Lands’ issue brought up last year? This was a Secretarial Order: meaning Secretary Salazar made this policy, not President Obama. This was an over-reach of the Executive branch’s authority, without Congressional approval. Only the Congress has the authority to create wilderness in this country, and that is why the Wild Lands issue was not funded in the current Federal Budget.

We must stay ever vigilant to ensure the continued use of our public lands, and hopefully gain back some of the miles and acres that have been lost to us in the last few years.

Yours in the Fight,

Jeramey McElhaney

Bio: Jeramey is the former President of the Red Rock 4-wheelers, serving from 2005-2007. He served during the implementation of the current resource management plan. Jeramey has been active in the 4-wheel drive community since 1996, and continues his efforts to both keep trails open and look for new trails. Jeramey lives in Moab, Utah.

You can also read the AP article and watch a quick news report on Salazar’s visit by clicking this link: http://www.fox13now.com/news/kstu-salazar-in-moab-interior-secretary-ken-salazar-visits-utah-20110928,0,3701748.story