Salt Lake City, UT – The process that brought together local elected officials, environmentalists and other stakeholders to produce the Washington County Lands Bill became a model for several other counties in Utah. They were all hoping to resolve questions of wilderness designation and other important issues that would let them plan confidently for the future. Congressman Jim Matheson championed the process along with Senator Bob Bennett. But Bennett's defeat may have dealt the process a setback. Matheson says he's confident it will still move ahead.
Matheson's Republican opponent in this fall's election is former state representative Morgan Philpot. Philpot says he's ready to support the county-by-county planning process for public lands as long as he's confident local leaders don't feel like they're being pushed into making a deal.