The 2016 Utah Public Lands Initiative (PLI) draft released by Utah Representative Rob Bishop fails to provide adequate protections for scenic public lands in the state, would undermine bedrock environmental laws and threatens to despoil key public lands.
While the proposal recognizes the critical need to protect scenic and sensitive public lands in Utah—places like the Bears Ears region in San Juan County—it fails to focus on areas of agreement between conservation groups, counties and other stakeholders, and would instead impose controversial provisions that lack public support. As drafted, the PLI undermines years of effort to find common ground and is a missed opportunity to advance conservation, recreation and economic development in eastern Utah.
The following statement is from Paul Spitler, Director of Wilderness Campaigns, at The Wilderness Society:
“We are disappointed that after years of good faith effort to identify common ground with counties, conservation organizations, tribes and others, the proposed bill neither honors important agreements that were forged during the PLI process nor offers a reasonable path forward on many issues of critical importance. The draft PLI includes many controversial proposals that lack support and would damage scenic public lands in Utah.
We appreciate the commitment of many stakeholders and community leaders to find common ground. The Wilderness Society remains committed to continuing to work for the permanent protection of deserving public lands in Utah through whatever process can successfully secure those protections.”