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Utah Representatives Bring Public Lands Inititiave to U.S. House Floor

John Fowler
Creative Commons

Utah Congressmen Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz introduced the long-awaited Public Lands Initiative bill on Thursday.

In this revision of an earlier draft, some 1.4 million acres of the Bears Ears area in San Juan County and about 4.5 million acres across the state would receive permanent conservation designations. About 23 miles of the Dolores River in Utah would be declared wild and scenic. The bill was the result of three years of meetings with stakeholders in eastern Utah counties. But an inter-tribal coalition says its views were given short shrift and has called for President Obama to use the Antiquities Act to designate a national monument instead. A related bill would curtail Obama’s ability to declare a monument in parts of Utah. Critics say the PLI bill is too little too late and is just an attempt to stall until Obama leaves office.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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