Governor Gary Herbert’s hopes to negotiate with the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), sponsor of twice-yearly trade shows in Salt Lake City, were dashed today. It was clear that OIA considered it is time for action, not more talk.
OIA Executive Director Amy Roberts said “it is important to our membership, and to our bottom line, that we partner with states and elected officials who share our views on the truly unique American value of public lands for the people and conserving our outdoor heritage for the next generation.”
The OIA said it specifically asked Herbert for four measures that outdoor businesses consider important to their future in Utah:
• End legal efforts or support for congressional action that would facilitate the sale or transfer of federal lands to the states.
• End efforts to nullify the Antiquities Act.
• Stop seeking to reverse the designation of Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. Herbert this month signed a resolution from the Utah Legislature asking President Donald Trump to rescind the monument designation.
• Support other public lands “that provide the backbone of the industries sales,” OIA wrote.
Herbert did not agree, Roberts said.
“For 20 years … we feel like we’ve been a good partner and very upfront about our [member concerns],” Roberts said, “and what we’ve seen is sort of a ratcheting up over time in actions either by the Utah Legislature or the congressional delegation that really start to threaten public lands and the public’s access to the lands.”
OIA has decided to pull out of Utah, effective in 2019. Most likely the retailers will move their events to Denver, Colorado.