Once again, an Eastern politician has proposed to set aside a vast tract of Western land for the preservation of wilderness. In this case, Rep. Maurice Hinchey of New York wants to designate as wilderness some 9 million acres in southern Utah.

It is all too easy for Easterners and other urban dwellers to assuage their environmental guilt by locking up land in a state far from home. Wilderness is a good thing in proper proportion, but the commitment to wilderness should be shared. I have a modest proposal for Congress: no new wilderness land unless the sponsoring legislators offer up a significant commitment of land from their own state or region. When congressmen start sharing the pain, we'll see how committed they really are to wilderness and the environment.

Steve Fillerup

Payson