Saturday, March 05, 2005

Huntsman focused on problems real and fake

Scanning the headlines from today's Salt Lake Tribune, I see a mixed bag from Gov. Huntsman. First the good: the state recognizes reality and the best way to save money: stick it to Big Pharma's profits.

Utah will be joining Maine's bulk purchasing program and creating a list of "preferred drug list" saving the the Beehive State $1.4 billion.
"It won't be a fixed list, like a formulary. So if an individual needs a certain medication, we can grant an exception. But we believe a lot of expensive drugs are prescribed unnecessarily," said state Health Department Director David Sundwall.

With ex-Governor Mike Leavitt heading HHS, I doubt the feds will interfere.

On to the bad: The governor is enjoining a suit to reopen a road in Canyonlands National Park that weaves around one of the biggest sources of water in that parched part of te state.

Of course, the Bush administration is for it too. Anything so that fat people can drive their Hummers up to Angel arch.

A federal judge ordered Salt Creek closed to traffic in 1998 in a ruling in a lawsuit brought by Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, which pointed to damage caused by vehicles. But the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2000 ordered the court to reexamine the record. Then last June the Park Service closed the road because of damage.

The next day, San Juan county found an obscure 1866 rule to claim broad rights-of-way across unreserved federal lands, arguing that the road predated the area's designation as a national park. The entire state of Maryland used to belong to the Earl of Baltimore, but you don't see his relatives trying to claim the right of there do you?

Now I like the idea of the feds working more closely with the states and local community when it comes to land and land use, and I don't think locking land up forever is a good idea everywhere. But this is a national park, not some random BLM land out in the boonies.

If the state offered money to make it a real, paved road to protect the surrounding environment and kept off-roaders on the asphault, then I would feel a bit differently. I love the land down in Southern Utah, I have been 4-wheeling on slickrock and dunes before and it is fun, but I don't think those things should be done in national parks.

Congress has designated these lands as protected and the President and the states don't have the right to undermine the will of the legislature through stuff like this.

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