Today’s Senate field hearing on proposals to protect the Bears Ears region will likely include a discussion of Congressman Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative, which has some times been forwarded as a potential alternative to executive action to protect the area.
Here’s three reasons why PLI is a bad deal and won’t serve that purpose:
1. There’s not enough time to do much about it. Congressman Bishop had 1000 days to create a legislative solution to protecting the Bears Ears, and he only managed to release it on the day before Congress left for summer vacation. That’s more than a sign he doesn’t want to solve this problem — it’s an attempt to delay any action at all on this issue.
2. It benefits special interests at the expense of Utah. The impracticality of his approach isn’t the only reason why his Public Land Initiative is wrong for Utah. it puts the state on a path toward seizing and selling lands that belong to all Americans — something that would overwhelmingly benefit the out-of-state special interests that form the basis of his political support.
3. Few options are left to protect Bears Ears. Time is growing short and soon someone besides Congressman Bishop will have to step into fix the issues confronting the Bears Ears. And when he finds himself on the sidelines, Congressman Bishop will only have himself to blame for the outcome.