Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, in a letter signed by Utah's other three Republican members of Congress, urged Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan to ignore a Democratic effort to expand BLM wilderness study areas in Utah to 5.1 million acres.

Sen. Orrin Hatch and Reps. Jim Hansen and Howard Nielson signed the letter.Garn said none of the five Democratic members who signed the letter asking Lujan to expand the wilderness study area reside in Utah, and three of them live in the East and know little of Western public-land issues.

"Needless to say we are offended by the intrusion into the internal affairs of the people of the state of Utah," Garn wrote.

"We urge you to reject outright this intrusive attempt to dictate land-management policies in Utah. To date, the BLM for the most part has acted professionally and responsibly in its efforts to determine which lands deserve wilderness study classification.

"The 3.2 million acres now being considered for possible wilderness designation are, if anything, excessive. To even fathom adding another 1.9 million acres of BLM land into a wilderness study category would be devastating to the economic well-being of the people of rural Utah.

"This we will not accept."