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Bears Ears west of Blanding closing talk (Read 40 times)
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Bears Ears west of Blanding closing talk
10/02/16 at 03:53:52
Anyone familiar with this ? Its not clear to me yet.
from ARRA" <webmaster@arra-access.com
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The Congress came back into session during the month of September and now it is gone until after the November election.  Before rushing to the airport to get back home to campaign, Congress did take action on a number of bills of interest to us.  Here is a quick update on the bills that achieved some key milestones in the legislative process for your information.

Utah PLI Hearing
Congressional witnesses testifying on H.R. 5780 – Utah Public Lands Initiative Act – Sept. 21, 2016
H. R. 5780.  The Utah Public Lands Initiative Act

On September 12th the House Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a hearing on H.R. 5780 and received testimony from witnesses representing Utah interests as well as from the Obama Administration.  We have written about this undertaking before, but the effort that went into pulling together this measure is simply unbelievable.  Over the course of four years, more than 1200 meetings were held in Utah and yes, some in the Nation’s Capitol, in an effort to come to a consensus on how these federal lands in Utah should be managed for future generations.  If you care to learn more about this legislation, please go to this link:  Multimedia file viewing and clickable links are available for registered members only!!  You need to Login or Register!!

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H. R. 1838.  Clear Creek National Recreation Area and Conservation Act

As we reported previously, the House of Representatives passed the Clear Creek legislation in July and the measure was sent to the Senate.  The committee of jurisdiction, Senate Energy and Natural Resources, received the bill and held a hearing on the measure on September 22nd.  This hearing was a key hurdle we needed to overcome in order to move the legislation forward to the full Senate.  We are literally running out of time.  To get this bill across the finish line, it has to be done during the Lame Duck session.  The Director of the Bureau of Land Management did testify at the hearing and the Obama Administration has officially come out against the recreation portion of the bill, the very section we care about! The Director testified that while BLM supports the proposed Wilderness designation in the bill, it cannot support provisions that could increase the exposure of public lands users and employees to naturally occurring asbestos.  This despite an independent risk assessment study commissioned by the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation that concluded management and operational strategies could be effectively employed in the area to allow OHV use without exposing the public to unacceptable risks.

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Slate Creek and Dry Dallas OHV Trail Rider in Wyoming – From RiderPlanet USA

H. R. 845.  The National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act

This measure, introduced by Reps. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Tim Walz (D-MN) passed the House of Representatives on September 26th.  This is a measure that ARRA has strongly supported for a long time since it will facilitate the use of volunteers to maintain recreational trails in our National Forests.   Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) has introduced companion legislation in the Senate. This legislation has strong bi-partisan support with 86 co-sponsors in the House and 23 co-sponsors in the Senate.

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S. 437.  Improved National Monument Designation Process Act

The issue of placing limits on presidential discretion on the designation of national monuments under the Antiquities Act of 1906 continues to be a theme in this Congress.  On September 22nd, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee reported out legislation authored by its Chair, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), that before a designation could take place it must first be specifically authorized by the Congress, and requires the concurrence of the state legislature where the proposed monument designation is located as well certification by the President that the designation is in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  The matter now goes before the full Senate though it seems unlikely that any action can take place in the Lame Duck session.  Even so, action by this committee is a powerful statement that the Congress in time may revise the scope of the Antiquities Act.  S. 437 is just one of many approaches seeking to do just that.

Most of the focus during the September session was on how to fund the federal government with the start of the new fiscal year beginning October 1st.  A lot of hand wringing took place over the funding of the Flint, Michigan water crisis.  Having a deadline looming always serves to motivate folks to find a solution, a way out of a dead end corner, and this proved to be the case in terms of the Flint problem.  Funding to assist Flint with the replacement of lead contaminated water pipes will be included in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) thus freeing up objections to moving forward on a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government until December 9th.

All this means, of course, the longer term funding of the federal government will be facing the Congress when it returns for the Lame Duck session.  The prospect of a government shutdown can be pushed out for another 60 days or so.


Larry E. Smith
Executive Director
Americans for Responsible Recreational Access

Americans for Responsible Recreational Access
2120 L Street, N.W., Suite 850, Washington, D. C. 20037
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Re: Bears Ears west of Blanding closing talk
Reply #1 - 10/02/16 at 09:50:10
“The virtues of the PLI bill include permanent protection for some of Utah’s most spectacular
places, a significant funding stream for Utah’s school children, and diverse new economic
opportunities for rural Utah communities provided by wilderness designations. While we
continue to have concerns with some of the provisions in the bill, we support its fundamental
premise: the pairing of new wilderness and other conservation units with broadly supported land
exchanges between the federal government and Utah.”
-Mike Matz, Director U.S. Public Lands, The Pew Charitable Trusts
“The Public Lands Initiative Process has been an important effort to balance the needs for
conservation, recreation and development in seven Utah counties. Today’s introduction of
official legislation represents a milestone in this process. We anticipate meaningful
improvements have been made since the Discussion Draft was released on 1/20/16, and we look
forward to carefully reviewing what is now proposed.” – Dave Livermore, Utah State
Director, The Nature Conservancy
"The introduction of the official Public Lands Initiative language is an important step to begin
the legislative process and its time-honored process for refining legislation. We anticipate the
introduced version of PLI will have measurable improvements over the Discussion Draft
released in January. We're committed to working with the delegation on this proposal as the
hearing process gets underway to address our remaining concerns and achieve the bi-partisan
support need for its passage in Congress." – Josh Ewing, Executive Director for Friends of
Cedar Mesa
“A locally driven Congressional and legislative process like the Public Lands Initiative (PLI) has
provided local residents the chance to see their concerns and needs addressed in federal policy. It
gives them the opportunity to be involved in the management of places and lands they care about
and have cherished for generations. I applaud the time, effort, and hard work of Congressman
Chaffetz and Bishop in trying to bring certainty to the public lands issues faced daily by my
constituents. The PLI provides a locally driven framework that should be followed for all public
lands discussions, rather than by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., or a unilateral decision made
by one person.” – State Senator David Hinkins (R-Orangeville), Senate District 27, CoChairman
for the Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands
"In the decades-long tug-of-war over Utah’s federal lands, the only thing certain has been
uncertainty. Instead of trying to resolve the problems in single counties, the Public Lands
Initiative (PLI) has brought together stakeholders from seven eastern Utah counties representing
the full range of perspectives on land use. This locally driven give-and-take negotiation
ultimately enables multiple land uses, facilitate economic growth and preserve pristine
landscapes. While no one gets everything they want, everyone gets something that is important
to them. Land conservation and economic development are not mutually exclusive, and the PLI
includes meaningful gains for both. The process was open, transparent, and represents
compromises made in local communities." – State Representative Brad King (D-Price), House
District 69
“As the only elected Navajo official in Utah, I want others to know that we grass-roots Utah
Navajo San Juan County residents do not want and oppose a national monument of turning our
sacred sites into tourist attractions, the Public Land Initiative provides the best balance of access
and protection for the Bears Ears region. Rather than a national monument that functions as a
magnet for tourism, we support a National Conservation Area that preserves local access and
management. By going through a legislative process rather than an executive decree, we also
achieve the long-term certainty we need. After a prolonged investment in this process, Utah
Navajos can confidently support the product of this collaborative effort.” – Commissioner
Rebecca Benally, San Juan County Commission
“I support the efforts of Congressmen Bishop and Chaffetz to find a legislative solution to
preserve Utah’s public lands. The Public Land Initiative (PLI) has been a result of a locallydriven
discussion from various stakeholders, community leaders and citizens, who have set aside
their own interest, to find a solution that best preserves the land and provides economic
development for the area.” – Speaker Greg Hughes (R-Draper), Utah Speaker of the House
"Our U.S. Constitution places the stewardship over land use designation and policy squarely
upon state and federal legislative bodies not the executive branch working in concert with special
interest groups. The Public Lands Initiative is a legislative solution to complex land use
designations and policy.” – State Representative Keven Stratton (R-Orem), House District
48, Co-Chairman of the Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands
“As the elected representative for San Juan County, I strongly support San Juan County
Commissioner Rebecca Benally, who is also Navajo, in her efforts to stop the illegal designation
of the Bears Ears National Monument. The PLI is supported by Commissioner Benally and her
constituents and is in sharp contrast to the top-down designation of a 1.9-million-acre monument
that will do nothing to advance economic development and self-reliance for the Utah Navajos.” –
State Representative Mike Noel (R-Kanab), House District 73
“We have been honored to participate in the PLI process as one of more than 120 partners. We
understand that when there are multiple stakeholders with diverse interests, the need for
compromise is paramount and not any one interest will get everything it wants. Given the
complexity of the bill, as it attempts to conserve millions of acres in Utah while encouraging
productive uses on other lands, the risk remains that there will be some lands with oil and natural
gas resources that will be designated for conservation only. We welcome the introduction of the
Public Lands Initiative today, and stand ready to work with you to help ensure its success. “ –
Kathleen M. Sgamma, Vice President of Government & Public Affairs, Western Energy
“The Utah Mining Association supports the Public Lands Initiative (PLI) and its goal of ending
the gridlock and conflict regarding public lands management in eastern Utah. Through the PLI
process, the Utah congressional delegation has convened a true “bottom-up” approach that has
given every stakeholder an opportunity to participate and have their concerns heard and
addressed. As with any compromise, we knew going in we wouldn’t get everything we wanted,
but we believe the PLI has resulted in a reasoned, balanced approach to public land management.
That’s something a national monument designation could never accomplish.” – Mark Compton,
President, Utah Mining Association
“Every time a big decision is to be made concerning San Juan County it becomes painfully long.
The public lands issue facing us now is no exception. I know areas in the county need protection
but I support the PLI process because it allowed our residents a voice and seat at the table. We
may not get all we wanted but in relation to the proposed monument the PLI will not take our
beautiful mountains and valued watershed as will the proposed monument. I support PLI.” –
Commissioner Bruce Adams, San Juan County Commission
“On behalf of the Carbon County Board of Commissioners, I lend my support and efforts to the
passage of the Public Lands Initiative (PLI). PLI is a good example of grass roots politics in
action. There have been thousands of hours worked, multiple counties involved, hundreds of
meetings held, diversity of both the political and societal spectrums and representation from a
wide range of user groups. PLI is also a good example of collaboration as both sides of the issue
have felt like they were giving up some things and gaining others. The declaration of this
monument undermines the local people’s ability to have a say and be involved in something that
will affect their lives personally and is contrary and in opposition to a grass roots movement like
the PLI.” – Casey Hopes, Chairman, Carbon County Commission
"The PLI advances the goals of Utah's school trust to provide significant additional funding for
K-12 public education. It is common sense to trade sensitive trust lands with high natural values
to the United States, and trade less sensitive lands to the school trust for development of future
revenue". – David Ure, Director, Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands
“As with any legislation that seeks to strike a balance between competing and very disparate
interests there are some compromises [in the PLI] that many stakeholders (of every philosophical
inclination) will find objectionable. Nonetheless we at Sharetrails/BlueRibbon find this bill to be
generally as supportive as is probably possible of OHV interests and will therefore, at the request
of local stakeholders with whom we work, support it. One thing that I can support without
reservation is the effort that went into crafting this bill. I believe that Rep. Chaffetz was correct
when he stated during the PLI meeting a few months ago that this was at its core an effort to
make Utah a better place. There just isn’t a lot of political upside to this. I commend Rep.
Chaffetz for his willingness to wade into such a contentious public issue for little apparent gain.
Every once in a rare while something happens in politics that refreshes my faith in democracy.
The Utah PLI is one of those things.” – Martin Hackworth, Executive Director,
Sharetrails.org/BlueRibbon Coalition
“No matter your stand on public land management in Utah, your ultimate goal should be finality
and stability. That is exactly what a Congressional/legislative process will do. The Public Lands
Initiative, when passed into law by Congress, is the only legal and open process that will
accomplish those goals. Within the 64% of Utah controlled by the Federal Government there’s
areas suitable for all interests and uses. Those areas have been identified thru the extensive
efforts of hundreds of Utah citizens involved with the PLI. It’s time to end the uncertainty and
provide stability and finality to what can, should and will be allowed on public lands in Utah.” -
Alan J. Peterson, small business owner/ avid outdoorsman, Carbon County
"As a County Commissioner and a former BLM manager I can't say enough about the positive
aspects of the PLI process. The challenge with any undertaking of this size and complexity is to
establish a clear understanding of the position and concerns of the stakeholders involved. For
over two years there were numerous meetings and discussions with groups and individuals
representing local and national interests. These meetings did not always result in total agreement
but there were compromises reached some did not think were possible. While the final outcome
of the PLI is yet to be determined there can be no doubt that everyone involved has a much better
understanding now than they did when PLI began. Perhaps The PLI process wasn't perfect but it
is head and shoulders above any other process where the outcome is the creation of winners,
losers, divisiveness and hard feelings." – Commissioner Bill Stringer, Uintah County
"The Utah Cattlemen's Association believes that the best land management actions and political
land management decisions are made by the people closest to the resource and most in touch
with the area. The process of a U.S. Congressman meeting with local citizens and local
government leaders and listening to their input and then drafting and presenting a bill such as the
Public Lands Initiative before Congress to address those issues, is the way our democratic
government should work." – Brent Tanner, Executive Vice President, Utah Cattlemen's
“For decades, Utahns have faced the uncertainty of tens of thousands of acres of our state tied up
in de facto wilderness via Wilderness Study Areas. Utah Farm Bureau appreciates the leadership
of Representatives Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz to break the impasse. Through an exhaustive
process that has engaged Utah Farm Bureau members at the state and local levels, PLI has
brought together diverse interests and stakeholders to hammer out a compromise. Not everybody
is happy! But it is the product of Utahns coming together - not abuse of the Antiquities Act for
political gain.” – Ron Gibson, President, Utah Farm Bureau
“For decades the Off Road Business Association (ORBA) has believed that public lands should
have a fair and reasonable process to determine how it will be managed. This process should
only be handled through congressional hearings including all local stakeholders and not through
the stroke of a pen. ORBA fully supports the efforts of Congressman Bishop and Congressman
Chaffetz for their dedication to an open and reasonable process. The [Public Lands Initiative]
goes a long way in address the management of public land!” – Fred Wiley, President/CEO, Off
Road Business Association
“60 years ago, the 1.4 million acres of land being considered for the Bears Ears Monument were
devoid of any wildlife. Over the last 60 years, and 30 in particular, the abundant and diverse
wildlife populations on these lands, were re-established nearly 100 percent with private
sportsmen and state fish and game dollars. Millions of same source dollars have also been
invested on restoring habitats on thee incredible public lands, as well as fencing highways. The
herds of elk, mule deer, desert bighorn sheep, cougar, black bear, wild turkey and other species
today are thriving and abundant, for all Americans and foreign visitors to see. These tremendous
conservation efforts were accomplished under current multiple use programs. Conservation can
be maintained without designation of a Monument - this area is a prime example of a wellcrafted
Public Land Initiative, versus a one size fits all Monument designation.” – Don Peay,
Sportsman’s for Fish and Wildlife
“Anyone with an accurate appraisal of the status quo and the available alternatives should
recognize the PLI as a win-win-win-win. The counties have provided their blueprints. Interest
groups with a spirit of negotiation have weighed in. Recent additions to the PLI offer more than a
monument could deliver upon, in terms of preserving the Native American past and promoting
the tribal future.” – Clif Koontz, Executive Director, Ride with Respect
“Emery County has been involved in a collaborative public land management process since
2008, involving many stakeholders. When we were asked to be a part of the Public Lands
Initiative, we were pleased that other counties were going to engage in a similar public lands
collaboration, and that we could be a part of a process that would address management issues on
a regional basis. We appreciate the effort that has been made by Congressman Chaffetz and
Bishop to engage stakeholders in each of the counties, and address all the many issues regarding
public land management. We feel the process has been fair and inclusive. We are pleased to see
draft legislation made available for further process and discussion. We look forward to continued
discussion of the draft legislation as it makes it way through Congress. The Emery County
Commission supports the Public Lands Initiative, and will work to ensure its success.” –
Commissioner Keith Brady, Chairman, Emery County Commission
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