Letters, March 3, 2016 

Land Grab Not About Education, Mind the Gap and It's Easier to Build a Pipeline Than Conserve

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Land Grab Not About Education
My 1957 bride and I live in Sandpoint, Idaho, but we winter in Moab, Utah. The latter entitles us, we hope, to comment on a story we have been following for years, it seems, in City Weekly.

The reason U.S. Reps. Rob Bishop, Jason Chaffetz and their cultist cronies are trying to steal public lands is not to upgrade Utah's dismal public education. It is to feather the financial nests of fellow sect member entrepreneurs whose polluting dollars keep them in office. With straight faces, they insist they want to raise funds to improve Utah education. Baloney.

During 10 years of Logan residency, we found precious little separation between church and state. From schools to judges to Boy Scouts to corporate chiefs, predatory cultists run the show. Forget the illegality of the Public Lands Initiative, a self-serving land grab effort by provincial elected officials. Officials who represent a state which, according to the U.S. Constitution, is itself illegal.

So long as such devious and insular people as Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah; Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, and their ilk represent Utah in Washington, D.C., and Salt Lake City, the state will remain under the uneducated heal of zealous puppets of the One True Church. At the bottom of the heap in public education and in countless other telling categories as well.
Tim & Jaquelynn Henney
Sandpoint, Idaho

Mind the Gap
The Affordable Care Act was signed into law six years ago this month. The uninsured rate is now 11.9 percent, the lowest ever recorded. Approximately 17 million more Americans have health insurance today than before the law was passed. Hospitals across the nation have saved untold amounts on uncompensated care.

Despite this progress, more than 5 million Americans remain unable to access health insurance because they fall into the "coverage gap," meaning they make too much income to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to be eligible for the tax credits that make private health insurance affordable.

While 80 percent of this group live with incomes below the Federal Poverty Level, over 70 percent have at least one full-time worker in their family. Everyone stuck in the "coverage gap" lives in one of 18 states (Utah among them); the other 32 states have expanded Medicaid.

While the Affordable Care Act has made a positive difference, a minority of states have stubbornly chosen to leave hard-working residents without access to health care. Those elected leaders have sacrificed the health of their constituents in pursuit of individual political goals. Now's the time to tell your representative where you stand. Let's work together to make the "coverage gap" a thing of the past.|
Johnathan Hladik
Center for Rural Affairs
Lyons, Neb.

It's Easier to Build a Pipeline Than Conserve
The USGS says the average Utahn uses 248 gallons of water—the highest usage rate in the United States. Is this not just another form of gluttony? It seems logical that such wanton waste in the second-most arid state in the nation would be considered "sinful."

Senate Bill 80 proposed by the Legislature would take $36 million in sales taxes annually to fund the Lake Powell Pipeline and Bear River development. It doesn't seek to solve a problem, but to normalize the behavior that causes it.

It has already been pointed out that a miniscule 1 percent reduction in water use by the city of St. George would negate the need for the Lake Powell Pipeline. I'm sure a similarly manageable act of restraint by the Wasatch Front would save the Bear River from being overtapped even more. But, to paraphrase Aldo Leopold, it's much easier to build a pipeline than to think of what the land and people really need.
Josh Boling

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