Public Lands

With two-thirds of Utah held as public land, I’m fighting to secure greater local and state involvement in the decision-making and management of public lands.

I’m proud to have cosponsored the Natural Resources Management Act, 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. This legislation is the culmination of years of collaboration and cooperation between Utah county commissioners and local conservation groups, ranchers, recreationists, and others. It creates 248,000 acres of recreation areas, Jurassic National Monument in Emery County, Golden Spike National Historical Park, consolidates SITLA parcels that will generate millions in revenue for our school kids, and includes long-sought local land transfers in Emery, Uintah, Cache, and Juab counties to meet city government needs.

I support multiple use of our public lands and will work to prevent excessive land grabs by presidents and federal bureaucrats. The Antiquities Act and the Endangered Species Act should both be reformed to require state approvals and local involvement. For this reason, I introduced the Protect Utah Rural Economy (PURE) Act which would protect Utah from Presidential Antiquities Act abuse in much the same way Alaska and Wyoming are currently protected.

Utah’s national monuments, specifically Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, have become political footballs between administrations. By unilaterally expanding the boundaries of these monuments, the Biden Administration missed an opportunity to work with state, local, and tribal leaders, as well as the Utah congressional delegation, to find a permanent, legislative solution for the boundaries and management of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. We will not stop making sure Utahns’ voices are heard when it comes to our public lands.

The Great Salt Lake is one of the largest saline lakes in the world and serves as an important ecosystem to Utah wildlife and nearby communities that rely on it. I introduced the Saline Lake Ecosystems in the Great Basin States Program Act to facilitate an integrated regional assessment of saline lake ecosystems—filling a critical data gap that has made it nearly impossible to address a variety of problems caused by declining water levels.

As Utah’s population increases, I support expanding recreational opportunities for residents in our most urban areas. Currently, the Bonneville Shoreline Trail provides great outdoor recreational opportunities for Utahs, but several wilderness-designated areas along the trail are hampering its full use. Along with Representative Curtis (R-UT), I introduced the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Advancement Act to adjust the boundaries of the trail to ensure that construction can be fully completed and Utahns can enjoy its wide range of recreational opportunities for years to come.

The economic impacts of the suspension of oil and gas leasing on federal land would be detrimental to Utah’s rural communities and energy industries. To prevent such damage, I introduced the Protecting our Wealth of Energy Resources (POWER) Act, which would prohibit the president or his secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, and Energy departments from blocking energy or mineral leasing and permitting on federal lands and waters without Congressional approval.

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