How tamarisk tripped a senator

  Dear HCN,

Only a couple of years ago Utah Sen. Bob Bennett appeared at a town meeting and, in response to some agitated inquiries, produced a magnificent color photograph of a green canyon in southern Utah. This was his proof that the area was even greener now than it was in another photograph of the same canyon 20 years earlier.

I vividly recall Bennett telling us why we were wrong in wanting to limit grazing and turn the land into wilderness. We wondered ourselves, looking at that impossibly lush color photo. And, he wanted to know, what was so important about that riparian thing?

Then a rowdy in the back shouted out: "Bob, that green stuff you're showing us is tamarisk!" And so it was, a rapacious exotic just like you described in your May 25 stories. But Bennett was right about one thing: It was very green.

Wes Odell

Salt Lake City, Utah