Thursday, February 21, 2008

Utah's Star Chamber

[Utah Unigovernment] Every so often, it's reasonable to remind Utah's power-crazed GOP legislators that theirs is the party of Theodore Roosevelt. You remember him--that madman president who had the audacity to create the national parks system and to push for protection of America's wilderness. A regular flaming enviro, that Republican Roosevelt.

But then, Teddy was more in the moderate vein of John McCain. Today he would be drummed straight out of the party. Besides, everyone knows McCain is secretly a rabid liberal, certainly not worthy of Utah Republicanism.

Yesterday, Sen. Margaret Dayton (R-Orem), interrupted Stephen Bloch, staff attorney for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, as he testified before the Senate Natural Resources Committee. Dayton told Bloch he would have to take an "oath" to speak the truth because, according to Patty Henetz of The Salt Lake Tribune, "someone had raised concerns that his previous testimony before the House [on another bill] was inaccurate or false." Henetz, however, checked a few additional facts in writing her piece--and learned that the Bureau of Land Management had neatly fudged numbers in reporting the amounts of tar sands and oil shale available should Utah's wildnerness lands be opened to drilling and other energy exploration. Read all about it here. The Legislature's anti-environment bloc AKA "The Conservative Caucus," or "Cowboy Caucus") frequently uses the BLM's questionable numbers in justifying their bitching about federal jurisdiction over public lands that belong to all Americans.

BTW, Bloch was quite a decent sport. He complied with Dayton's "request."

Where to start here? When did our citizen Legislature become its own homey little version of the Star Chamber? As Henetz points outs, no other panel witnesses besides Bloch were required to take an oath before testifying. Reps from the oil, mining and farming industries gabbed away, free of interruption.

And who was this "someone who raised concerns" about Bloch? None of your beeswax. At the Legislature it's perfectly fine to build a whisper campaign against an adversary, and let it snowball into the scene that took place yesterday. If Bloch were appearing in a state or federal court, at least he'd have the right to know and/or face his accusers.

And again, it's worth noting, people keep electing these folks. Over and over and over again.

(Holly Mullen)

1 comment:

  1. glad I dont live in oremFebruary 21, 2008 at 8:07 PM

    People in Orem hate themselves. They can not raise life to a livable standard so they inflict misery on the rest of us by sending ass-wipes to the legislature. Welcome to the club Orem, West Jordan was lonely...


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