PUBLIC LANDS -- Disgusted with Utah's all-out assault against federal public lands, the former CEO of Black Diamond Equipment took a bold step from the private sector today calling for the popular Outdoor Retailer trade shows to abandon Utah in protest.
Peter Metcalf, who moved his company to Utah 25 years ago because of its natural outdoor attractions, spoke out today in the Salt Lake Tribune. He also lured the Outdoor Retailer summer and winter trade shows to the state.
But the lead role Utah politicians are taking in the effort to seize federal public lands and transfer them to state and private interests has galled Metcalf. For example:
Utah's legislature approved a federal land takeover plan last year.
- Utah legislators seem to be pushing on with costly legal action to seize federal lands despite warnings of failure by scholars and attorneys general.
- Rep. Rob Bishop introduced wording in one of the first actions of the 115th Congress this month to ease the way to transferring federal lands.
Gov. Gary Herbert's recent campaign to oppose President Obama's designation of Bears Ears National Monument was the last straw.
"Utah's political leadership has birthed an anti-public lands political agenda that is the driving force of an existential threat to the vibrancy of Utah and America's outdoor industry, as well as Utah's high quality of life," Metcalf writes.
"Utah's top elected officials' stated strategy is to take down our newest national monument, Bears Ears, gut the Antiquities Act, starve funding from federal land management agencies and transfer our country's public lands to state ownership, where the state will sell and prioritize extractive use over all others....
"Political officials rationalize their actions with false truths, fictional ideologically based narratives and fear-mongering. They neglect the critical role public lands play in boosting Utah's economy, making the state a great place to live, work and play. They even fail to understand that four of Utah's five iconic national parks, which are the economic engines of their regions, were created through use of the Antiquities Act — as was Bears Ears National Monument."