Wilderness Society opposes Utah public lands bill passed by House committee, asks President to designate Bears Ears region of Utah as a national monument

Sep 22, 2016

Bears Ears, Utah.

Mason Cummings, The Wilderness Society
Today the House Committee on Natural Resources voted to approve the proposed Utah Public Lands Initiative Act (PLI), which remains laden with poison-pill provisions.

With very few legislative days left in the 114th Congress, this bill has no chance of being adopted and would do too little to protect wild, cultural and historic lands, including the critically important Bears Ears area.

The initiative, led by House Natural Resources Committee Chair Rob Bishop (R-Utah), purports to create consensus about management of federal lands in Utah but fails to build on areas of agreement and instead includes provisions that lack public support and would undermine environmental laws and damage Utah’s scenic environment.  The Wilderness Society opposes this legislation. 

The following statement is from Paul Spitler, Director of Wilderness Policy at The Wilderness Society:

“With virtually no time left for Congress to act, the clock has run out on the Public Lands Initiative—and for good reason. The legislation fails to honor local agreements and instead advances a one-sided agenda that lacks public support and places America’s most significant ecological, historical and cultural resources at risk. We urge the Congress to reject this short-sighted initiative.

While we are deeply disappointed in the legislation, we are heartened that there is nearly unanimous agreement that the Bears Ears area deserves permanent protection and that Native American tribes should have a larger role in managing the landscape.

Given the lack of viability of this damaging legislation, it is time for President Obama to protect the priceless resources this region offers by establishing the Bears Ears National Monument.”

Contacts at The Wilderness Society

Paul Spitler, Director of Wilderness Policy, (202) 360-1912, paul_spitler@tws.org

Jennifer Dickson, Senior Manager, Wildlands Communications, 303-650-9379, jennifer_dickson@tws.org