Enviro Update: July 2007

Environmental news from around the state and the west.
-by Amy Brunvand
Candidates for SLC mayor respond to environmental questions

Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson has had an especially strong environmental record, but he's not running for a third term. Will the new mayor carry on his environmental legacy? The Utah Sierra Club Political Committee sent an  environmental questionnaire to all of the candidates for Salt Lake City mayor. Their responses are posted on the Web at: http://utah.sierraclub.org/legislative.asp.

Update: America's Redrock Wilderness Act

As of June 14, America's Redrock Wilderness Act had 138 cosponsors in the House and a record 18 in the Senate. The bill would add public lands identified by the Citizens' Proposal for Wilderness in Utah to the national wilderness preservation system.

Utah wilderness Coalition: www.uwcoalition.org/

Vision Dixie releases growth scenarios

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Utah's St. George was the fastest-growing metro area from 2000 to 2006, with a population growth of 39.8% to 126,000 on July 1, 2006. In the next 20 years, Washington County's population is expected to double.  Last year's awful (and thankfully, defeated) "Washington County Growth and Conservation Act" proposed to address growth problems by selling off public lands and using the money to finance, among other things, more highways and off-road vehicle trails. Arguing against the bill, conservationists pointed out that the residents of Washington County were already involved in a series of workshops called "Vision Dixie" to develop growth principles that could help guide the future of the county (similar to the "Envision Utah" process on the Wasatch Front). In June, Vision Dixie presented four growth scenarios. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance has endorsed "Scenario D" which offers ways to cope with growth while preserving public lands, open space, air quality, and quality of life in Utah's Dixie.

Vision Dixie growth scenarios for Washington County: www.visiondixie.org/

Wilderness analysis for Price/Vernal area

In 2005 when the Bureau of Land Management released a draft resource management plan environmental impact statement for the Price/Vernal area, they neglected to include information about and analyses of wilderness characteristics on lands outside of existing wilderness atudy areas. As it happens, the BLM has already received extensive public comments regarding potential wilderness in the planning area, and a court ruling in the 2004 case "Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance et al. v. Gale Norton" requires the BLM to consider such wilderness characteristics when making decisions regarding oil and gas leasing. As a result, on May 24 the BLM announced that they will prepare a supplemental draft resource management plan environmental impact statement that considers how to manage land with wilderness characteristics within the planning area. A public comment period will be provided when the draft is released.

Water conservation tips and free water check from Utah DWR

In Utah, 65% of our home water use goes on the lawn-and about half of that water is waste, says the Utah Division of Water Resources. The DWR website offers tips on proper lawn watering as well as many other ways to save water. Get a free water check to analyze the efficiency of your automated sprinkler system. Call 1-877-728-3420 or sign up online: www.conservewater.utah.gov/