State lawmakers divided on exit of Outdoor Retailer

By: Glen Mills 

Posted: Feb 17, 2017 12:58 PM MST

Updated: Feb 17, 2017 03:32 PM MST

Salt Lake City, Utah- (ABC4 Utah) - Utah lawmakers are responding to the decision of the Outdoor Retailer Show to pack up and find a new home.

After a 20 year relationship, Outdoor Retailer plans to leave the state of Utah. They say it's because of the stance lawmakers are taking on public lands. That decision is drawing strong emotions on Utah's Capitol Hill.

“The governor and Utah legislature had to spout off their usual foolishness about public lands. It's really a travesty for the state,” said State Senator Jim Dabakis, (D) Salt Lake City.

“They have impact on our community, and impact on our state and we welcome them coming here, but it's certainly not where they are going to control policy in the state of Utah, because of their show,” said State Representative Mike Noel, (R) Kanab.

This session the legislature has passed two resolutions on public lands. One, asks the president to rescind Bears Ears Nation Monument. The other seeks to shrink the boundaries of Grand Staircase-Escalante.

Dabakis says it comes with a costly outcome.

“They come in, they drop $45 million and they go away. They don't bring pollution, their kids aren't here to be educated, they just create money, and now it's gone.”

Dabakis says jobs will also be gone. He says while he's disappointed about the impact this will have on Utahns, he understands to group's logic for leaving.

“They are just saying, you know we don't want to be in a place that is so hostile to our core values.” 

Noel is the sponsor of the resolution on Grand Staircase-Escalante.

He says it's false to suggest the state isn't interested in protecting public lands.

“Environmental groups give a false narrative about oil wells, and destruction of public lands, it's absolutely untrue.”

Noel says the best approach is for all stakeholders to come together on rules for multiple use.

He says Outdoor Retailer is refusing.

“If the sportsmen can do it, if the ranchers and farmers can do it, if the OHV people can work together in a multiple use scenario then the outdoor retailers ought to stop acting like children, come down, sit at the table.” 

A sharp divide between republicans and democrats on this issue. One thing they can both agree on is they'd like to see the expo stay, although at this point that doesn't look likely.

Read the full story here

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