Your editorial "Protection for the Desert" (Part I, April 4) does not fairly portray the issues and concerns relative to Sen. Alan Cranston's proposed California Desert Protection Act.
As one who has represented vast portions of this territory for 20 years in the state Assembly and in Congress, I am concerned by the lack of attention being paid to the many legitimate concerns relative to the desert and the apparent willingness to adopt a proposal that circumvents the public policy process that created the existing management plan for the desert. The Cranston proposal, while well-intentioned, forsakes the needs and concerns of the many legitimate interests of desert dwellers and users to appease the interests of a few powerful interest groups.
The most disturbing element of this present discussion is that no one has adequately addressed the question of why Sen. Cranston has abandoned the public process that produced a compromise management plan for the 25-million acre California Desert Conservation Area.
Why have he and other individuals and organizations, who supported the landmark Federal Land Policy Management Act of 1976 and were directly involved in the decision-making process that created the resulting California Desert Conservation Area Plan, given up on the implementation of this grand compromise?