Rep. Wayne Owens on Tuesday denounced moves to drastically redraw the boundary of Utah's 2nd Congressional District - the district that voted to return him to office by a substantial margin earlier this month.

Legislators who want to do that apparently want to make Owens run in some rural counties where he is unpopular because of his pro-wilderness stance, he said during a meeting with Deseret News editors and reporters.It is important "to have a congressman who has no obligations to anybody except in Salt Lake County," he said. Salt Lake County residents' interests are not the same as those in some rural areas, he said.

"I don't have an obligation to Garfield County. I don't have an obligation to San Juan County. I have an obligation to Salt Lake County," he said.

"If I have to go down and appease the people down there, I cannot work, I cannot focus on Salt Lake County." He added that the 2nd District seat should not be compromised by that kind of political dodge.

"Pardon me for sounding like an owner" of the seat, he said. "I know I'm not. I've just got a two-year lease."

A simple and fair way to redistrict would be to move the boundary from 4100 South to 5100 South, and adjust the 1st and 3rd districts by one or two counties, he said.