Following recent reporting that Utah Congressman Rob Bishop is on President Trump’s short list to be the new Secretary of the Interior, Western Values Project Executive Director Chris Saeger issued the following statement:
“Rob Bishop’s fervor for privatizing, selling and transferring public lands and his disastrous record on a myriad of public lands and wildlife issues should immediately disqualify him from being considered for the Secretary of the Interior position. Any potential nominee to run the nation’s largest land management agency must commit to keeping public lands in public hands; Rob Bishop’s record has proved he is committed to doing the exact opposite. Even considering as staunch an anti-public lands zealot as Bishop for this position exemplifies just how tone-deaf the Trump administration is on this critical issue.”
Bishop, who has represented Utah’s 1st congressional district since 2003, served as chair of the Natural Resources Committee from 2015 until handing the gavel over to Representative Raul Grijalva (AZ-03) earlier this month. Bishop is now the ranking minority member of the committee, and has already said he will retire from Congress in 2020.
Background on Rob Bishop’s Anti-Public Lands Views and Actions:
- Over the course of his career, the oil and gas industry has been Rob Bishop’s top industry donor, giving him nearly $490,000. [OpenSecrets, accessed 12/17/18]
- Rob Bishop has called the Antiquities Act the “most evil act ever invented” and said “If anyone here likes the Antiquities Act the way it is written, die. I mean, stupidity out of the gene pool.” [Center for Western Priorities, accessed 12/18/18]
- Rob Bishop has “dismissed the historical value of Native American artifacts as a basis for establishing national monuments,” and when asked about Native American artifacts responded, “‘Ah, bull crap. That’s not an antiquity.’” [Native News Online, 07/13/15; E&E News, 07/10/15]
- Rob Bishop, in 2012, “applauded the Utah Legislature’s passage of a bill demanding transfer of all federal lands not in national parks or designated wilderness to state control.” [Salt Lake Tribune, 03/13/12]
- Rob Bishop, in 2015, co-founded the “‘Federal Land Action Group’ to identify ways Congress could push a transfer of federal lands to state and local governments…with the end goal of introducing legislation to move the federal lands into state and local control.” [Salt Lake Tribune, 04/28/15]
- Rob Bishop, in 2017, asked for budget writers to set aside $50 million to account for the costs to transfer federal land to state or local governments. [The Hill, 03/06/17]
- Rob Bishop has said the land policies of the federal government in the Western United States today are similar to the land policies in the Soviet Union and communist East Germany. [Congressional Record, 09/27/13; The Washington Examiner, 03/23/15; Flathead Beacon, 10/19/07]
- Rob Bishop blamed the federal government for the Malheur Refuge occupation, saying “if the Department of Interior was concerned about people instead of dogma this situation would not have occurred.” [E&E News, 01/08/16]
- Rob Bishop believes the “very premise” of the Endangered Species Act “is illogical.” [Washington Examiner, 12/26/17]
Ex-lobbyist turned Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has been Acting Interior Secretary since January 2 after former Secretary Ryan Zinke resigned due to pressure from the White House after being the subject of some 18 federal investigations. Many of Bernhardt’s former clients have benefited from favorable Interior decisions since he started as Deputy Secretary. Bernhardt has also failed to clarify his position on several issues, including whether he supports the sale or transfer of public lands.