Archive for category Utah Politics
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.
Arch Canyon, Bears Ears NM / Manti-La Sal NF
Today President Obama proclaimed a 1.35 million acre Bears Ears National Monument, which is just two-thirds the area proposed by the Bears Ears Coalition. Instead of sticking the right-wing with what they deserve, Obama fell short, in his usual “well, it’s better than nothing” style. The smaller-than-expected boundary is close to what Rep. Rob Bishop proposed in his Public Lands Initiative bill.
Of course the Tea-GOP is exploding with rage anyway despite Obama’s futile attempt to make them feel listened to. Via the Salt Lake Tribune:
Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch on Wednesday issued a scathing indictment calling Obama’s action an “attack on an entire way of life” and an “astonishing and egregious abuse of executive power” that far exceeds the intent of the Antiquities Act.
“In the next Congress under President [Donald] Trump, I will do everything in my power to reverse this travesty,” Hatch said.
…Gov. Gary Herbert said he was “deeply disturbed” by the designation, by which he said the president “misused his authority” and “violated assurances made by his Interior Secretary [Sally Jewell] to take into account local concerns.”
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said he is working with Herbert, the state’s congressional delegation and lawmakers on a lawsuit, “and we are confident in our chances of success.”
Comment in an e-mail from USA-ALL (right-wing anti-wilderness group):
We called this early in 2016. This is one we hate to be right about. There is much we could say about this…like how it will undermine the possibility of collaborative planning and compromises over disputed areas, like how shady and dishonest groups like SUWA are, or how naive and foolish native american tribes are for buying into the lies of enviros, and how the Obama administration cares little about REAL local input and doing the right thing for the land and the people…we could go on.
USA-ALL will make it our mission, in 2017, to convince the Trump administration to undo in entirety or part this latest assault.
As much as I dislike SUWA, they have the right idea here:
TELL THE UTAH DELEGATION: HANDS OFF BEARS EARS!
Statement by the President on the Designation of Bears Ears National Monument…
Department of the Interior press release
Beauty of Bears Ears on Vimeo
BLM website: Bears Ears National Monument
Forest Service website: Bears Ears National Monument
Barack Obama Names Two New National Monuments Important To Native Americans Before His Term Ends
Chaffetz Outraged by Obama Decision to Impose Unwanted Midnight Monument in Utah (Note: This is on Rep. Chaffetz’ website, and you can leave a comment!)
Utah Attorney General Vows To Sue Obama Over New National Monument
A key square-mile parcel of Comb Ridge near Bluff is being sold by the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), ignoring the majority of Utahns who commented on the proposed sale. I attended a public hearing about this land sale in Bluff on June 7. SITLA Director David Ure opened the meeting by explaining that the state-owned lands he manages are not in fact public lands although many people have that impression. The SITLA holdings, he said, are actually PRIVATE land. The impression was created that this was a done deal no matter what anybody says.
The buyer is the Hole-in-the-Rock Foundation, which already owns the Bluff Fort tourist attraction. The Foundation says they do not have plans to build permanent structures at Comb Ridge, however after acquiring the land plans may change at any time. At the very least, they will devote the land to a single use — ignoring the broad public interest and the cultural importance of this land to Native Americans.
Here’s the big picture: Gov. Herbert and the Tea-GOP majority in the Utah legislature are planning to sue the federal government to grab 30 million acres of our public lands and national forests. If the state ever gets this land, it will instantly become PRIVATE land as David Ure can tell you. That is what is at stake here.
Support the Bears Ears National Monument!
This second debate took place on September 26th, and will most likely be the last one, as governor Herbert would rather keep his governmental matters close to the vest and probably only showed up to the first one at the last minute because he didn’t want to be called, “Unavailable Jones” at that event.
Weinholtz came out swinging like a real democrat should with the problems the GOP has left us in this state and the rest of the country as well, but he has already proven he can work with the other side on the issues.
I hope all those people who showed up to wait in line for hours to register and vote for Bernie Sanders will see that this is the year to get democrats in office again in Utah. The governor’s office has never been in Republican hands for this long in Utah before, (32 years). It’s time for a change with REAL values instead of the stagnant cronyism we see today.
Short post-debate question and answer session:
The first debate was not televised, so I took this from a citizens cell phone recording.
NOTE: You can stop the unwanted soundtrack by going near the bottom of the page, and pausing the video, or going to the comments section.
I took the liberty of modifying the only known recording of this important event by cropping a citizens cell phone recording and amplifying the sound. This one-on-one debate nearly didn’t happen. Herbert only agreed to debate Weinholtz once on September 26th, but changed his mind at the last minute. I guess you could call this a flash debate.
I wanted people to see what a great leader Weinholtz would be for Utah. He really did a great job!
Original debate video can be found at Mike Weinholtz’s webpage.
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell toured the proposed Bears Ears National Monument last July
Yesterday Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz held a subcommittee hearing on their Public Lands Initiative (PLI) bill. There is virtually no chance of the bill becoming law, however Rep. Bishop is hopeful that by keeping the PLI in play for the few remaining weeks Congress will be in session he can block President Obama from issuing a Bears Ears National Monument proclamation.
Bishop says there’s plenty of time left.
“There is a helluva long lame-duck session,” he said in an interview. “We’re going to be here from after the election to Christmas.”
He said he doesn’t know if movement on the PLI will stop the president from acting on a monument but that the White House would be hard-pressed to explain why it made such a move against a locally driven process.
Bishop said: “It’s going to be very difficult to make this monument unless it’s simply, ‘Screw you, Utah, in your face.’ “
Bishop is ignoring the fact that the Bears Ears monument proposal has the support of a strong majority of Utahns.
Congress can still avoid a Bears Ears National Monument, says Rep. Jason Chaffetz
Beautiful Film Of The Proposed Bears Ears National Monument (July 2016)
Is President Obama Going to Do This? (June 2016)
Bishop-Chaffetz Bill Is An Attack On Our Public Lands (January 2016)
Bears Ears National Monument (November 2015)
Bears Ears buttes, Elk Ridge, San Juan County Utah
The Bears Ears National Monument proposal has been on the table since last year. There is some speculation that President Obama is readying a proclamation, despite a dire warning from Senator Orrin Hatch that it could result in an armed confrontation similar to the one at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.
The monument proposal stands on its own considerable merits. Adequate protection of the area, particularly the archaeological sites of Cedar Mesa, is long overdue. A recent poll found 71 percent of Utahns support the Bears Ears monument. Additionally, Utah politicians could stand to benefit from a well-timed reminder that we the people own our public lands, not the corporations.
Rep. Chris Stewart recently tacked an amendment onto the Interior Appropriations Bill, seeking to prohibit new national monuments in Utah.
The Utah land grab agenda also includes Rep. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz’ Public Lands Initiative (PLI), nicknamed the “Plundered Lands Initiative” by conservation groups. The representatives are still threatening to introduce this corporate-friendly development bill in Congress.
Gov. Gary Herbert is still proceeding with a threatened lawsuit aimed at seizing 30 million acres of our Utah public lands, a doomed gesture that may cost us $14 million.
The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary. Despite the controversial 1996 proclamation by the Clinton administration, the GSENM is thriving today. Let’s hope President Obama is willing to counter the anti-public-lands Utah politicians with a resoundingly popular monument proclamation this summer.
Utahns normally expect that the outcome of the presidential primaries will be decided before we get to vote. Not this year!
Friday, March 18 12:30 pm.
A Future to Believe In Rally in Salt Lake City
The Garden Place at This is the Place Heritage Park
2601 Sunnyside Ave S Salt Lake City UT 84108
The free event is open to the public. Bernie will hold a town hall meeting at This is the Place Heritage Park at 3:30 pm on Friday. The campaign says RSVP’s for public wishing to attend event are strongly encouraged. You can RSVP for the town hall at this link.
I’m actually naive enough to think that our senators would show up to hear the concerns of the citizens who showed up to a hearing in Salt Lake on March 2nd, 2016, concerning the new “Public Lands Initiative”, (PLI). I don’t know why I thought that, when the hearing wouldn’t have even taken place without being organized by “Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment”.
Jason Chaffetz gets a gold star for sending a notice he wouldn’t be present. Orrin Hatch, Rob Bishop and Mike Lee didn’t even have enough decency to reply to their invitation. Lack of respect from the senators, for the overwhelming majority of their constituents was a common theme throughout the night.
It was a good turnout, and it’s too bad it wasn’t held in a larger venue then Orson Spencer Hall. There wasn’t enough room for all the people who came to the event, even though some the attendees had to stand along the wall after the seats were gone. People at the back of the auditorium were complaining about all the noise being made by the folks in the foyer.
My camera batteries weren’t sufficient to record the entire meeting which lasted over three hours. Many dozens of people submitted a request to speak. I got some good footage though, which I present here for the people of Utah and hopefully others across the nation, since this terrible initiative could affect many other states, should it pass as written.
Enjoy the passion!
Today we finally got a look at the Bishop-Chaffetz Public Lands Initiative discussion draft, covering public lands issues in 7 eastern Utah counties. It was not worth the wait.
From the Center for Western Priorities:
After years of work, Congressman Rob Bishop released a draft of his long-awaited Public Lands Initiative (PLI) bill on Wednesday. Early reporting already shows Congressman Bishop trying to spin his bill as a balanced and collaborative success story, even before the public has an opportunity to review the legislation.
Don’t be fooled: The draft Public Lands Initiative bill is an extreme and deceptive attack on our nation’s public lands that does little for conservation. The legislation is another ideological vehicle for Congressman Bishop to express his disdain for national public lands, rather than a true attempt at addressing diverse stakeholder needs.
Rep. Bishop stated recently that “people will win and people will lose” in his bill. There’s no doubt that the winners Bishop picked are big oil and gas companies and Utah’s misguided public lands policy, while the losers include hikers, campers, sportsmen and women, Native American tribes, and the American people.
- The worst part of the bill is that the 40 areas Congressman Bishop calls “Wilderness” would not be designated wilderness as it’s been understood since the passage of the Wilderness Act over 50 years ago. “It is a designation in name only, and that alone makes the bill a nonstarter,” says Aaron Weiss, spokesman for the Center for Western Priorities.
- Unspoiled public lands that are currently set aside as BLM wilderness study areas would be given up forever and released for industrial uses.
- The bill also creates so-called “energy zones,” i.e. areas open to expedited oil, gas, and other mineral leasing and development.
- The bill seeks to open up disputed RS 2477 right-of-way claims to motorized travel.
- Bishop wants to prohibit any new national monument designations by presidential proclamation.
- Congressman Bishop just waged a vicious and ultimately unsuccessful battle against America’s most successful parks program, the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Fresh off his defeat, Bishop is now trying to gut LWCF within Utah by banning land management agencies from using LWCF funds to protect land inside new wilderness and conservation areas.
Public Lands Initiative discussion draft
Bishop Public Lands Proposal Unveiled, Already Sparking Criticism
Bishop public lands bill unveiled amid support, criticism
Rob Bishop’s “Public Lands Initiative” is an Insidious Attack on Our Public Lands
[O]ver the past several months there have been many significant changes made to the bill, turning it from a gesture of compromise to a divisive bill that includes Bundy-style public land giveaways, pseudo-wilderness protections, accelerated oil and gas development, and the marginalization of several original stakeholder groups.