(KCPW News) After venting his frustration over a new federal wilderness policy, Governor Gary Herbert will hold a public meeting with Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey this Friday. Herbert’s Deputy Chief of Staff Ally Isom says he wants to know more about the implications.
“The governor felt like we have been making some progress in bringing stakeholders together and moving forwards toward a resolution there, and this looks like a setback,” said Isom. “We’d like to have an opportunity to discuss that, as we had no opportunity for some input prior to the announcement.”
Last month, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that his department would designate “Wild Lands” for protection. The policy revokes a previous pact Utah had negotiated with the Bush Administration, dubbed the “No More Wilderness” agreement.
Heidi McIntosh is Associate Director of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, an advocate for wilderness protection on public lands. She says Governor Herbert’s concerns seem to be political posturing.
“What the secretary has done should be no surprise,” she told KCPW. “He’s just recognized that the BLM has the authority to protect public lands in their natural state, and that comes straight from the federal statute that governs the BLM.”
Friday’s public meeting with Abbey starts at 2 p.m. in the Senate Building of the State Capitol.