Salt Lake City

Mayor Becker, Utah Officials Continue to Oppose Federal "SkiLink" Bill



February 29, 2012
Contact: Art Raymond

Utah Officials Continue To Oppose “SkiLink” Bill

U.S. House Committee moves proposal forward without amendments to protect public process 


SALT LAKE CITY – Since its introduction in December 2011, Mayor Ralph Becker, Congressman Jim Matheson and Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon, along with many other concerned Utahns, have stood opposed to a federal legislative proposal that would convey public lands in Big Cottonwood Canyon to a private company for commercial development.  In absence of halting progress of that proposal, Salt Lake City submitted broadly supported amendments that would keep the land in public ownership and allow extensive public analysis and review to be conducted.     


This morning, the House Natural Resources Committee passed HR 3452, "The Wasatch Range Recreation Access Enhancement Act,” without any of the protections and safeguards recommended by Salt Lake City to the bill’s lead sponsor, Congressman Rob Bishop. 


“This morning’s action on HR 3452 was extremely disappointing”, said Mayor Becker.  “The Wasatch Range and its watershed areas are extraordinarily valuable to the citizens of the Salt Lake Valley.  HR 3452 removes our citizens from decisions affecting our public lands, paving the way for a controversial project in our treasured mountains without good examination of watershed, environmental or transportation impacts”.


Salt Lake County Mayor Corroon, whose agency is beginning a broad public planning process for the Wasatch Mountains, and Congressman Jim Matheson, whose district encompasses the Wasatch, also expressed disappointment.  


“The federal process is premature,” said Mayor Corroon.  “It needs to start with the local community, not with the feds mandating what happens with land in Utah.  Government closest to the people governs best.  Locals need to be involved.” 


Congressman Jim Matheson noted that “action proposed in this bill subverts the desire Utahns have strongly expressed—to have an open, inclusive dialogue about public lands decisions.”


“The parcel of land identified is critical to the sensitive Wasatch watershed, which provides clean, affordable drinking water to a growing population,” said Congressman Matheson. “I believe there is a way forward to balance growth, recreational access and watershed protection in the Wasatch Canyons, but this legislation isn’t the right answer.”


All three officials have pledged to continue to work with the sponsors of HR 3452 to substantially amend it as it moves from the U.S. House of Representatives to the U.S. Senate.  


Let your Utah Congressman know how you feel about this proposed legislation, here: