Senators gave final approval Friday to a resolution asking Congress to adopt 1.4 million acres of wilderness in Utah. The measure had already passed the House and Gov. Norm Bangerter will also sign it.
The wilderness issue is an emotional one. U.S. Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, wants more than 5 million acres of wilderness. His colleague, Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, wants much less and says he'll now support the Legislature's 1.4 million figure and ask Congress to do likewise.Only two senators voted against the resolution. Sen. Karen Shepherd, D-Salt Lake, who voted no, said that once the pristine, beautiful wilderness lands of Utah are gone, they're gone forever. Now is the time for husbandry.
The Bureau of Land Management originally recommended 1.4 million acres of wilderness. But environmental groups took the agency to court, and the BLM agreed to 1.9 million acres, said Sen. Cary Peterson, R-Nephi, one of the resolutions' sponsors. "We're taking it back to the original 1.4 million acres," said Peterson.