Utah's dueling congressmen are at it again.

Last week, Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, wrote President Bush urging him to cancel the C-17 cargo plane. Now Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, has asked Bush not to listen to Owens.That continues a long list of dueling press releases and letters this year on topics ranging from the closure of Fort Douglas to wilderness issues.

Owens said in his original letter that the C-17 was expensive and unnecessary, and was supported by Congress only because most House districts would receive some contracts for it.

That prompted Hansen to write Bush, "It has recently come to my attention that my Utah colleague, Wayne Owens, has written to urge the cancellation of the C-17 program. . .. I am not in the least bit embarrassed to say that I am a strong supporter of the C-17. My support for the cargo plane is not parochial; it is practical."

He added, "The C-17 addresses the projected needs of the armed forces for the 1990s and beyond. It offers more airlifting of cargo at a reasonable cost and provides us with the means to deliver vital equipment to forward battle areas.

"To heed the advice of my good friend from Utah would, indeed, be a grave mistake."