Rep. Rob Bishop just held a hearing on his Public Lands Initiative (PLI), bringing his disastrous vision for the management of Utah’s spectacular public lands to the chambers of Congress.
Testifying against the bill were representatives of the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, and the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, an alliance of five Tribes that have come together to propose national monument designation for the 1.9 million-acre Bears Ears region of southeasern Utah.
That its sponsors repeatedly tout the “conservation” in this bill is Orwellian. In reality, the PLI is the worst “wilderness” bill we’ve seen in Congress since the visionary Wilderness Act of 1964 was passed into law. Among its indecencies:
- It rolls back existing protections on more than 100,000 acres of Utah’s deserving BLM wilderness.
- Its “National Conservation Areas” are riddled with loopholes that are in direct opposition to conservation—allowing things like mining, deforestation projects and rampant road development.
- It hands over to the State of Utah massive tracts of land that belong to the American people.
- It gives unelected local groups unprecedented authority over the management of federal lands.
- Its proposal for the 1.9 million-acre Bears Ears region is woefully inadequate.
Fortunately, the bill was met with vigorous opposition by Reps. Niki Tsongas (MA), Raul Grijalva (AZ), Alan Lowenthal (CA), and Jared Polis (CO). If they are your representatives, please call their offices and thank them. The Capitol switchboard number is (202) 224-3121.
We have worked for 30 years to cultivate congressional champions who can save Utah’s wilderness from proposals like the PLI—champions who understand that these majestic redrock plateaus and canyons deserve real protection for generations to come. But we’ve only been successful because you respond to our alerts, call your members of Congress, and enlist their help.
Please do that again today. The legislative markup, the next step in the advancement of a bill through Congress, may still be coming this month.
Please tell your representative that Utah’s wilderness deserves better than the PLI!