WHITNEY A. SMIT
Both candidates in the running for Utah’s 3rd Congressional District have voiced their stringent opposition to President Clinton’s decision to create the 1.7 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument.
Dave Lemmon, spokesman for Rep. Bill Orton, D-Utah, said that Orton is “still vehemently opposed to the monument and moreover to the way it was done.”
Lemmon continued by saying that although Orton is irritated by Clinton’s motion, he has worked diligently to create seven specific concessions which will allow Utahns to have tighter control over the monument’s development.
Lemmon also said Orton recently noted that Clinton’s creation of the monument is a classic example of “politics dictating policy.”
Orton’s concessions include assurances that Utah water laws will take precedence over federal regulations on monument land. They also ensure that the Bureau of Land Management will monitor the area rather than the National Park Service, which will allow current hunting, grazing and fishing rights to remain intact.
Lemmon said that Orton’s most vital concern was that there would be a three-year public comment period to ensure the land will be managed according to public interest and opinion.
Orton’s Republican opponent, Chris Cannon, shares similar sentiments.
Cannon’s campaign manager Mike Mower said Wednesday that Cannon is “most outraged by the process that President Clinton followed.”
Mower also said that while some portions of the monument acreage are feasible for tourism, other areas would be put to better use if they were mined or allocated for other industrial purposes.
Mower said Clinton used Utah as a political pawn to garner votes in the western regions of the country.
“He sold out Utah to bump the polls in California. This move was purely a political one,” Mower said.