Utah Representative Rob Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative (PLI) is “too much, too late” and is an unrealistic attempt to protect the endangered artifacts and cultural resources of the Bears Ears area, according to new analysis from the Western Values Project. You can download the full report at this link.
The first hearing for Congresman Bishop’s bill was held today, September 14th, and only 27 legislative days remain to pass legislation. Should his bill fail to pass and the President doesn’t declare a National Monument, the clock will reset and efforts will begin anew next year. The area faces immanent threats in the form of looting, vandalism and the potential for reckless development threaten artifacts and areas of cultural significance for local Tribes.
Because no serious legislative proposal to protect Bears Ears has emerged, Tribal leaders and other area advocates have called on President Barak Obama to declare a “Bears Ears National Monument,” exercising his authority under the Antiquities Act.
Besides a last-ditch effort from Utah Governor Herbert, the PLI is the only alternative to a monument designation. WVP’s analysis of Congressman Bishop’s legislative record, and comparison of the bill against other similar legislation, shows there is not nearly enough time for his bill to pass. The report also demonstrates the bill shares very little in common with past successful efforts to protect sensitive areas through legislative compromise.