It all started when two groups wanted to determine what happened with one land. Each had a plan which seemed to exclude the other group. In each of the plans, they had very detailed information why the other plan would not work and was totally unacceptable.

This artificial war is based on the fact that our representatives no longer represent the people. They have found a better-paying group, which is more profitable to represent, and through their power as representatives, they have joined the elite economic ruling class. I call it The United Corporations of America, which seeks to take over The United States Of America.

The warfare style is based on distraction, divide and conquer. The financing comes from rich power brokers who have the most to gain from having the governing class of the rich control the members of Congress. This keeps the poor and working class in their proper place.

Right here in Moab we have the same phenomena concerning how much oil, gas and oil shale mining should be allowed and where. One group sees itself as modern cowboys fighting for their freedom to use the land which they consider their own for their own purposes. They cite long histories of being in southern Utah. They see themselves as the rightful owners of all the property within the State of Utah that is being held in trust for the citizens of the United States by the Bureau of Land Management.

The other group see themselves as stewards of the land. Protecting it and their own air and water from ruination by corporations, oil companies and the practice of fracking. They cite global warming as the No. 1 danger to our environment and the world. They would prefer that we enter an era of green energy immediately. As so many environmental disasters keep happening, they are becoming increasingly worse. They point out quite appropriately, that the BLM land does not belong to one group but to the people of the United States.

The question that keeps rising in my mind is, how can we make progress toward being more responsible people in this environment without working together? It seems that both parties have succumbed to an old military ploy. It is called divide and conquer. Corporations, oil companies, and extraction industries seem to fan the flames to divide both sides so they will not work together. They can now legally pay a representative’s campaign costs and they will work toward their goals. They write legislation that supports the ALEC and Koch Brothers directives. That insures that the rest of the population loses the little trust and respect that they have left in our political system.

The result of this dividing and conquering strategy is both sides being preoccupied with one another and not paying attention to the corporations or oil companies. This means there is no oversight or strategy to make them work with the highest technology they have available. They could put a mere pittance of their profits into being as environmentally friendly as possible. They could trap the emissions from their flare-offs at the well sites. They could be made to sign the remediation agreements, which would make sure they would be environmentally aware, repair, replace, revegetate those places where they were allowed to operate. There is no reason why we can’t have two types of economies. One economy catering to tourist activities and reasonable, responsible energy production.

I would like to see both parties, the environmental community and the pro-development coalition, work together for a better relationship and stewardship of the area we love. We both want the same things even if we achieve them in different ways. Both groups enjoy the beautiful environment that surrounds us, whether they walk, drive, or ride bikes to the places they love. Each group likes the smaller-town atmosphere without the sprawling city and large population. We cannot allow unchecked, unregulated development. If we do not demand responsible industrial development, then the corporations will do what they want. Does anyone remember the Atlas Corporation and the mess they left behind after they made their money?

Today we need to wake up and realize that the alternatives, we are being offered are all the same. Look at the three possible “Bishop plans”. Look at our County Council and what it is supporting. They want unchecked industrial development and they are not making any stipulations for our public safety, or the quality of our air, water, national / state parks and natural environment. It is time for us to vote for people who want to represent us, not corporations.

Michael Peck operates a painting and restoration business, and has worked as a licensed mediator. He has lived in Castle Valley for 12 years.