Press Release: Statement on the Failure of Representative Rob Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative

Bears Ears Buttes (Tim Peterson)

Photo (c) Tim Peterson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 9, 2016

Contact: Scott Groene, Executive Director, SUWA 801-712-5034

Yesterday, House Speaker Paul Ryan’s spokesperson said “The House just took its last vote of the year.” With Representative Rob Bishop’s (R-UT) Public Lands Initiative (PLI) having never come to a vote in the 114th House of Representatives, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) Executive Director Scott Groene released the following statement:

“Now that Congress has gone home without ever voting on the Public Lands Initiative, it’s clear that Representative Bishop’s PLI was not a serious effort to pass legislation, but an attempt to run out the clock and delay the protection of Bears Ears as a national monument by President Obama.

“SUWA, like many organizations, began working with Representative Bishop nearly four years ago in good faith and in the hope that meaningful conservation could be achieved through constructive dialogue.

“Unfortunately, the bill that Representative Bishop introduced in July was a giveaway to the energy industry, and chock full of poison pills that meant it would never enjoy bipartisan support in Congress.

“However, the one point of bipartisan agreement is that the Bears Ears region is a treasured landscape. Governor Herbert, the majority of the Utah legislature, the San Juan County commission, and the Utah delegation have all agreed that Bears Ears is worthy of enhanced protection, though of course they had hoped to see that protection happen through the PLI.

“Now that Representative Bishop has utterly failed to deliver on years of promises to safeguard this region from looting and industrial development, it is time for President Obama to step in where Congress has failed and protect Bears Ears as a national monument. Protecting Bears Ears cannot wait any longer.”

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