Rob Bishop, and other State and National Republican Politicians are leading a national effort to sell off public lands. What began as an absurd plan by a few extremists like realestate developer Ken Ivory, is now part of the Republican Platform.
Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments were only the beginings. If Republicans are successful, hundreds of millions of acres of public lands will be sold away. National forests, range land, wilderness areas, wildlife refuges, national monuments and historic sites could all be sold, fenced, gated, locked and expoited.
Polls show the majority of Americans don't want this to happen, even 64% of Republicans don't want it, and 74% of Independents don't.
This year House Republicans moved ahead, removing all impediments to quick sale, changing rules so public land value can be ignored, and directing the transfer of control of federal lands to the states. Last year they passed a bill which read: "This bill directs the Department of Agriculture, through the Forest Service, to convey to a state up to 2 million acres of eligilbe portions of the National Forest System in it that it elects to acquire through enactment by the state legislature of a bill meeting certain criteria. Portions of the National Forest System conveyed to a state shall be administered and managed primarily for timber production."
The Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership - an organization of hunters and fisherman - opposed the bill. CEO Whit Fosgurgh called this "the first votes on legislation that would legitimize the wholesale transfer or sale of America's public lands. Link here
It should be noted that Ken Ivory, a Utah Republican, founded the group - The American Lands Council - and receives backing from the billionaire Koch brothers. Rep. Rob Bishop, chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, is leading the effort in congress.
If the people of Utah want to have a voice in the matter they can begin by voting against Rob Bishop before it's too late. Representative Bishop's approval ratings amoung Utah voters has slipped to 28% yet he keeps getting re-elected. We need representatives who work for us.