Essay: One Man’s Personal Journey into Bears Ears, by Jerry K Jacka

The attack on public lands is also taking place on the state government level, led by Utah’s congressional delegation. Rep. Rob Bishop, as the chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, has long been leading a fight to turn protected federal public lands over to the state of Utah in order to allow increased resource extraction and detrimental uses of the land.

Luckily, his proposed bill failed to come up for a vote in last year’s House of Representatives. It only had one other supporter in the house, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), and no Senate supporter. Nevertheless, Utah’s congressional representatives intend to keep trying. On 24 January 2017, Chaffetz submitted H.R. 621 which would have transferred 3 million acres of federal lands to western states. The bill was pulled a week later because of outcry from conservationists, hunters, hikers and multitudinous others desiring public lands to remain public.