Bishop & Chaffetz Introduce Utah Public Lands Initiative
WASHINGTON – Rep. Rob Bishop (UT-01) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (UT-03) have formally introduced the Utah Public Lands Initiative (PLI) legislation for consideration by the US House of Representatives. Included in the bill is a revamped 1.4 million acre plan for the Bears Ears region. A partner bill was also introduced to complement the Utah Public Lands Initiative by ensuring land use certainty in seven Utah counties. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) will sponsor the companion legislation in the Senate.
After introducing the PLI legislation, Rep. Bishop released following statement:
"The effort of PLI was always to solve problems that have led to acrimony, and to do so by conserving lands worthy of conservation and providing for economic and recreational opportunities for all Utahns. The status quo does not provide that. It's not that the federal government is malicious, but when they own one third of America, it is just too much to effectively manage from Washington. Utah is a public lands state. It has always been, and it always will be. The question is how those public lands are managed. That's where local government has the advantage. PLI takes that premise and builds it to a reality."
Rep. Chaffetz said:
"In the shared effort to protect and manage Eastern Utah lands, particularly the Bears Ears Region, the Public Lands Initiative offers the most comprehensive, viable and legal path forward. We don't have to settle for a solution that is limited in scope, support, and goodwill. This legislation goes beyond conservation. In the case of Bears Ears, it safeguards access of traditional tribal uses and provides a meaningful seat at the table for tribal interests. Let's give weight to the broad coalition of interests and enable a comprehensive solution to lands disputes that have plagued the West for generations."
More info, including the PLI bill text, is available at UtahPLI.com. There you will also find a summary of the bill and key changes, a thorough overview of the Bears Ears region, maps depicting the involved lands, and a listing of supportive statements from various organizations and individuals.
Recently, Reps. Bishop & Chaffetz and Sens. Orrin Hatch & Mike Lee sent a letter to Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell highlighting the legislative strategy and next steps for PLI.