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Bishop UTTR-PFS Provision Included in Final Defense Bill

March 23, 2007
Press Release
 The Utah Congressional delegation announced today the inclusion of a provision in the Defense Authorization Conference Report which will protect the Utah Test and Training Range, create wilderness in Utah's west desert, and significantly impede the transportation of high level nuclear waste to Skull Valley.

Years in the making, the language came from a bill introduced by Congressman Rob Bishop and co-sponsored by fellow Utah Representatives Chris Cannon and Jim Matheson.  It was shepherded through the Senate by Utah Senators Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett.  Below is a statement from Representative Bishop:

 "This bill is a good example of what can be accomplished when groups and individuals work together.  We have made major progress on defending the range with over-flight protection.  We have created wilderness the right way.  We have moved forward in the effort to prevent nuclear spent fuel rods from reaching the Goshute Reservation.  We have put another nail in the coffin of PFS, but PFS is not dead.  So we must work until it is."

"I'm grateful to former Congressman Hansen who first came up with this concept.  Credit must be given to Senator Bennett, Senator Reid and Governor Huntsman for creating the opening for this deal and to Senator Hatch and Senator Ensign for closing this deal.  Our entire delegation has worked tirelessly together, with heavy involvement from Congressman Matheson and Congressman Cannon.  We also appreciate the way the entire Nevada delegation and House Leadership has worked with us, and the support we received in this effort from various environmental groups, including the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance."

Congressman Cannon added, "This is a significant step for our state.  Our entire delegation has been working on this, but there is still a lot of work yet to be done.  We're not going to stop until we kill this thing once and for all."

The measure, originally named the Utah Test and Training Range Protection Act, consists of three main components.  First, it helps guarantee the ability of the military to use the airspace over the range, ensuring continued military readiness and national security.  Second, it blocks potential attempts to build a rail spur on federal lands near the range and the Goshute reservation, thus hampering the nuclear waste storage facility from being built.   Other routes still exist.  And third, the plan designates roughly 100,000 acres of land as wilderness in the Cedar Mountain area of the range.

The language will now be included in the final version of the annual Defense Authorization bill, and should be voted on soon by both Houses of Congress where it is expected to pass easily.  The President has indicated he will then sign it into law.