Bipartisan Public Lands Package Includes Utah Priorities

WASHINGTON—Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) issued this statement following Senate passage of S. 47, the Natural Resources Management Act. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 92-8.

“This legislation is the culmination of years of collaboration and cooperation between Utah county commissioners and local conservation groups, ranchers, recreationists, and others. As a result, it includes important provisions that were crafted and driven at the local level instead of by Washington bureaucrats. That includes the creation of 240,000 acres of new wilderness and 248,000 acres of recreation areas, consolidation of Utah trust lands that will generate millions in revenue for our school kids, and long-sought local land transfers to meet city government needs. I appreciate the leadership of Congressmen Bishop and Curtis and the many local partners who have fought for years to advance these priorities, and I was pleased to support this bill in the Senate today.”

The Natural Resources Management Act is a comprehensive, bipartisan public lands package that comprises over 100 individual bills, including a measure that implements transparency measures to the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). Under current law, EAJA authorizes the payment of attorney’s fees to a prevailing party in an action against the United States. Often, these cases are settled but the settlements are not public. Shining a light on these settlement figures will help ensure that groups do not exploit or abuse the system, as has occurred in previous public lands lawsuits.

The bill also includes 10 locally-driven pieces of legislation that directly impact Utah. Within our state, this legislation:

–  Creates 240,000 acres of new wilderness and 248,000 acres of recreation areas;
–  Consolidates more than 100,000 acres of Utah trust lands that will generate $100 million in revenue for our school kids;
–  Authorizes the creation of Jurassic National Monument in Emery County;
–  Authorizes small land transfers to Nephi and Hyde Park to meet their city government’s growing needs;
–  Authorizes land transfer to Uintah County to protect the local watershed;
–  Designates Golden Spike site as a historical park for the 150th anniversary of the “wedding of the rails.”

Senator Romney detailed his support of this public lands package in a recent op-ed.