Public Land Disputes | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Public Land Disputes 

Starry Nights Ahead and State of Denial

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Public Land Disputes
You really have to wonder about the state of a nation that touts the rule of law, but has no respect for the government that embodies that rule. Utah is just one of those. A Utah Policy poll shows that 60 percent of Utahns want to sue to take control of federal lands. The reasons are unclear—except for disdain of the feds. The Utah Republican Party, which apparently knows more about the state Constitution than the state high court, refuses to comply with a Utah Supreme Court ruling saying it must recognize candidates who gather signatures. The Salt Lake Tribune wrote about Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, calling audience members selfish and greedy during a meeting on the Bears Ears monument proposal. Noel, of course, wants local control over public lands. You know; ATVs, coal mining and all that good stuff.


Starry Nights Ahead
KSL Channel 5 is peering into the state of dark skies in Utah this week, lest we forget. Way back in the Rocky Anderson administration, the city began a dark skies initiative. How successful it was, is up for debate. Some neighborhoods simply refused to embrace the light fixture caps that directed light down instead of up toward the sky. According to, Ogden Valley has a dark skies initiative, and, "At least 18 states, including Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, California and Texas, and over 300 cities and counties have adopted dark-sky lighting regulation." It's about saving energy as well as preserving the night skies. The University of Utah is working on it. So should everyone else.


State of Denial
When did pornography become the issue of the hour? Oh, it was probably about the time that transsexual bathroom habits became a public topic. But neither of these issues rises to the level of concern that Utah's bad air does. The latest American Lung Association report puts Salt Lake City as No. 6 in short-term particle pollution. Cities in the West experienced more of this because of drought and heat, fires and wood burning as a heat source. And then there's industrial pollution, which Utah seems to embrace despite Californians balking at our transporting coal to their state. The Salt Lake Tribune's George Pyle made a reasoned argument that the state is simply in denial about the future of energy. Don't be like the Trib and the newspaper industry in general. If you wait too long to grasp reality, reality will grasp you.

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

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