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Utah’s powerful water boy

by on July 24, 2012

As a citizen, no one can expect you to keep an eye on the shenanigans of  more than 100 Utah state legislators, especially when you consider the amount of lunacy they can pack into a session.

A suggestion: Everyone choose a lawmaker and make a hobby of stalking his/her antics in the media, on the blogosphere and at the state’s most excellent legislative website. If you are really into it, “friend” and follow the chosen one on Facebook and Twitter.

If no lawmaker leaps immediately to mind, don’t worry. I’ll be suggesting potential targets as the January legislative session approaches.

My first recommendation is State Rep. Mike Noel.

Over the decades, this sagebrush rebel and anti-fed rabble rouser from Kanab has wriggled his way into a position of exceptional power. Noel’s not only a powerful House member who sits on committees over natural resources, the environment and public utilities, but he’s the general manager of the Kane County Water Conservancy District.

So, despite the Marboro Man photo I got off Mike’s website, he’s really your basic career politician and government bureaucrat—who controls water in a very thirsty state. As you know, every living thing in Utah needs water, including subdivisions, endangered species, wilderness and nuclear power plants.

Some examples:

Noel is an ally of Blue Castle Holdings, a nuclear-development company run by former Utah legislator and Noel crony Aaron Tilton. The power plant would annually suck enough water to slack the thirst of Salt Lake City and Draper put together.

Noel isn’t shy about using his power to intimidate state employees, board members and fellow lawmakers, like when he defended the managers of SITLA after they defied the Legislature’s moratorium and paid themselves $294,000 in bonuses. It never hurts to have a public land manager owe you a favor.

Noel’s latest mess development opportunity is diverting millions in that nasty federal money to bring water to a hamlet of rustic cabins with a view of  Zion National Park, so that it can explode with development.

If you swing far to the right, you can call Noel’s efforts “bleeding the federal beast,” but don’t forget—Noel and his pals are the fat ticks under the fur.

Glen Warchol’s arts, culture and politics blogs also appears in Salt Lake magazine.

From → On The SLCene

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