Anti-Public Lands Extremist Heads to Capitol Hill

Jennifer Fielder Doesn’t Represent Montanans or Westerns Views, Instead Amplifying Fringe Anti-Public Lands Groups’ Views

Today, American Lands Council (ALC) CEO Jennifer Fielder will appear before the House Natural Resources Committee to testify on two important pieces of wildlife legislation. Fielder, a Montana state senator, is also CEO of the American Lands Council — a fringe anti-public lands group that advocates for the transfer or seizure of federal public lands.

“American Lands Council has a long history of anti-public lands advocacy and rhetoric, and hauling their CEO to Capitol Hill is another proof point that this administration and its allies are working to further the agenda of its special interest friends. Fielder must answer to her destructive record, her swampy past, and who exactly she’s representing today, because it clearly isn’t Montanans or the West,” said Jayson O’Neill, Deputy Director of Western Values Project. 

Jennifer Fielder is scheduled to provide minority witness testimony as the CEO of ALC presumably at the request of Utah Representative Rob Bishop, the committee’s ranking minority member. Bishop is a known anti-public lands advocate with a storied history of failed attempts to privatize, sell, and transfer public lands. He was once rumored to be on Trump’s shortlist to be Interior Secretary.

O’Neill said, “It shows just where Ranking Member Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)’s allegiances are if he’s propping up the leader of a fringe anti-public lands front group with ties to the militia movement.”

Don’t just take our word for it. Rep. Bishop once held up this ‘For Sale’ sign at a Utah press conference.

Fielder also has a long history of anti-public lands advocacy. She supported the Trump administration’s historic national monument reduction while opposing funding for the critical Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) — which protects and supports parks, public access, and public land projects across Montana. Fielder also voted against a bipartisan bill to implement the cooperative 2015 sage grouse habitat conservation plans. She sponsored a variety of anti-public lands bills in 2017. 

In recent polling, Montanans reaffirmed their strong support for public lands funding and protections and firmly opposed to messaging and policies pushed by ALC and Fielder. 

High Country News reported on WVP’s investigation from 2016 into the steep decline in the number of cash-strapped counties that use taxpayer money to pay for “memberships” to the ALC, a 45% decline in county memberships. The anti-public lands group also has ties to several of the Trump administration’s top political appointees at the Interior Department.

Jennifer Fielder must answer to her record and anti-public lands stances: 

Is Fielder appearing before the committee in her capacity as an elected official or as a CEO of the ALC? If appearing as the CEO of the ALC, Fielder must answer to the destructive public land policies pushed by the ALC. If appearing as a Montana state senator, Fielder should answer to who footed the travel bill and her qualifications to speak on behalf of Montanan’s when her record clearly shows she does not align with the state or the West? 

In January of this year, Fielder wrote an opinion piece in the Helena Independent Record claiming she was working on “a federal bill” to cede federal public land to states. What is the status of this bill? Is it forthcoming? Has Fielder engaged in lobbying for the introduction of the bill, and, if so, why hasn’t that lobbying been reported? 

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