A small county in northeast Utah has reached a big agreement on the future management of its public lands, offering a spark to a sweeping legislative effort being led by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah).
Bishop today was scheduled to join Daggett County Commissioner Jerry Steglich, conservationists, county and state officials, and an off-highway vehicle advocate at the Utah State Capitol to tout a deal to designate more than 80,000 acres of wilderness, swap roughly 12,000 acres of federal and state lands, resolve road claims, and bolster OHV access, among other steps.
It marked a major step forward for Bishop's effort to craft a bill balancing conservation, recreation and development on millions of acres of federal land in eastern Utah (Greenwire, Oct. 22, 2013).
Daggett, the smallest of the counties involved, was the last to join Bishop's effort and the first out of the gate with a solution for its public lands.
"What we are trying to do here is put Daggett out as a template or a microcosm," Bishop toldGreenwire this morning.
Bishop said he hopes to introduce a draft multicounty bill by January. By that time, he will likely be chairman of the Natural Resources Committee, a position he said would allow him to expedite the bill through the House.
Today's deal, which is summarized in a three-page list of principles, was also endorsed by Gov. Gary Herbert (R), whose office yesterday called it a "pathbreaking model" for other counties working with Bishop.
Conservationists applauded the deal.
"We'd love to see this exported to other counties," said Tim Peterson, Utah wildlands program manager for the Grand Canyon Trust, who attended today's event. "We hope it will create some momentum."
The Daggett deal would add nearly 50,000 acres of Forest Service land to the High Uintas Wilderness, a massive east-west expanse of snow-covered mountains dotted with trout-filled lakes and some 400 miles of streams.
It would also designate about 33,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management wilderness including the sandstone ridges of the Diamond Breaks wilderness study area near Browns Park, as well as a 31,000-acre BLM conservation area and 14 miles of the Green River as wild and scenic. The agencies would also acquire 13,000 acres of state trust lands trapped within the conservation areas and along the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area.
For Utah and Daggett, the deal would transfer more than 11,000 acres of federal lands to the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) -- including energy-rich areas and 6,800 acres at the junction of U.S. 191 and State Highway 44 that Daggett would like to see developed as a summer and winter resort, with possible residences and a ski hill. Other land transactions would support a shooting range, landfill site and power substation in Daggett, while allowing an association of cabin owners to acquire the Forest Service lands under their homes.
"We are trying to garner new interests and other activities that will bring more people to our beautiful county," Daggett County Commissioner Karen Perry told The Salt Lake Tribune this week.
Perry could not be reached yesterday, and Steglich declined to comment ahead of today's event.
The deal also promotes all-terrain vehicle trails in Dutch John Canyon and Sears Canyon and would release about 3,000 acres of federal lands from wilderness management. Moreover, conservationists would ask sponsors in Congress to remove Daggett County from the America's Red Rock Wilderness Act, a bill that calls for 9 million acres of wilderness in Utah but that is opposed by the Utah delegation.
Lastly, the deal includes some resolution to Daggett's road claims under the Civil War-era law known as R.S. 2477, which, until its repeal in 1976, gave settlers the right to build roads and acquire rights of way over federal lands not yet reserved from public use. Utah and its counties are trying to retroactively prove R.S. 2477 claims over some 12,000 roads spanning about 36,000 miles.
The Daggett deal would maintain access for road claims that are outside the proposed conservation areas and currently open to motorized use. The state and county would relinquish claims to roads within the conservation areas.
Stakeholders agreed to an "appropriate administrative process" to resolve the remaining claims.
"The boundaries are good; the management language is good," said Scott Groene, executive director of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, the primary proponent of the Red Rock bill, which has fought the R.S. 2477 claims in court. "A fair amount of trust and goodwill has been built."
Other environmental groups represented at the Capitol this morning were the Wilderness Society, the Sierra Club and Trout Unlimited. Groene said the Natural Resources Defense Council has also backed the plan.
Also scheduled to appear at today's event were John Andrews, associate director of SITLA; Mark Ward, counsel for the Utah Association of Counties; and Mike Swenson, who led the Utah Shared Access Alliance, a motorized recreation advocacy group that backs Utah's bid to take over federal lands.
Stakeholders took field trips over the spring and summer to Spirit Lake in the Uintas and Browns Park, a remote mountain valley that follows the Green and was a notorious hideout for outlaws, including Butch Cassidy.
Peterson, of the Grand Canyon Trust, said credit for the agreement is due to Casey Snider, a Bishop staffer who formerly worked for Trout Unlimited and previously lived in Daggett.
"He did yeoman's work," said Bishop, who hired Snider a few months ago.
Daggett's early success can be attributed, in part, to its small size -- its population is just over 1,000 -- and its unique set of public lands challenges, Bishop said. Just 4 percent of land in Daggett is privately held, which poses economic and fiscal challenges, Bishop said.
Swapping federal and state trust lands will benefit Utah schoolchildren and provide new county revenue, Bishop said. Conservationists say it will ensure that state lands within roadless areas are not developed.
But reaching similar agreement in other eastern Utah counties, including Uintah, Grand, San Juan and Emery -- where there are more competing interests for wilderness, motorized recreation, oil and gas, potash and oil sands -- remains a herculean task.
Battlegrounds include Hatch Point, a pinyon-and-juniper plateau overlooking Canyonlands National Park near Moab that is coveted by wilderness advocates as well as developers of potash, an ingredient used in fertilizer.
Stakeholders must strike a tough compromise on which of millions of acres will be designated as wilderness and which will be released or designated for multiple use, including drilling and ATV use. SUWA has identified roughly 6 million acres in the Red Rock bill.
Bishop's bill must also resolve Utah's and counties' road claims under R.S. 2477, a labor-intensive task given the sheer number of claims at stake. Without a resolution, the law could give local officials control over routes through primitive federal lands, potentially blowing up a legislative deal with greens.
“The Daggett County proposal represents an important milestone in the efforts to advance the Utah Public Lands Initiative. I commend all those who came to the table to find common sense solutions and compromises to some of the biggest challenges that have plagued public lands policy in the state for more than three decades. The draft proposal that will be included in the final PLI legislation includes some key components such as economic development for the county, economic opportunities for SITLA, land and water conservation, increased opportunities for motorized and non-motorized recreation, and advancements for the sportsmens’ community,” said Congressman Bishop.
“This proposal is the result of significant negotiations and compromise on behalf of everyone involved. I’m proud that we are able to bring new opportunities for economic development to Daggett County as a result of our efforts and that was always our primary goal. Ensuring the future success and economic viability of our county remained our number one priority and this proposal reflects that,” said Daggett County Commissioner Jerry Steglich.
“I’m pleased that each party involved in the proposal recognizes the importance of supporting the future economic growth of Daggett County. The ongoing uncertainty that has plagued public land use has been a challenge for Daggett County and the other counties involved in the Public Lands Initiative. The proposal introduced today is a key step forward for Daggett County. Some concerns and challenges remain but this brings a clear path forward and I’m proud to lend my support to this important initiative,” said Senator Kevin Van Tassell.
Specifically, the Daggett County proposal includes the following key provisions:
COUNTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
· County to receive 800 acres of Forest Service land adjacent to Dutch John for a shooting range, power substation, and landfill.
· County to receive increased annual revenue from the transfer of energy revenue producing site to SITLA.
· County to benefit from SITLA-Forest Service land exchange that may facilitate development of year-round resort.
· County to cooperatively manage historic Swett and Jarvie ranches to maintain their economic value as tourist attractions.
INCREASED ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES ON UTAH SCHOOL AND INSTITUTIONAL TRUST LANDS ADMINISTRATION
· Large SITLA land exchange that will trade scattered and low economic value SITLA holdings for consolidated holdings that have higher revenue potential.
· Lands to be acquired by SITLA include an energy revenue producing site and Forest Service land that is sought for year-round resort development.
LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION AND RESOLUTION OF WILDERNESS
· Establish over 80,000 acres of wilderness on BLM and Forest Service land.
· Establishing a 30,000-acre conservation area.
· Designate a portion of the Green River as a wild and scenic river.
· Forest Service and BLM to acquire state lands within conservation and wilderness areas.
RESOLUTION OF R.S. 2477
· County to receive rights on open routes on BLM land outside of proposed wilderness and conservation area.
· County and State of Utah to relinquish claims on routes within proposed wilderness and conservation area.
· Establish a process for county to apply for rights-of-way on closed routes on BLM land outside of proposed wilderness and conservation area.
OTHER BENEFITS TO DAGGETT COUNTY
· Land exchange to facilitate a homeowners association acquiring their home sites from the Forest Service.
· Facilitate the exchange or sale of the Forest Service lands containing privately-owned cabins to the cabin owners.
INCREASED RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
· Protection for important hunting habitat as a conservation area.
· Ensure that the Forest Service maintains specified campgrounds.
· Upon passage of legislation, support the reopening of the Sears Canyon route to ATV traffic and the establishment of an ATV route up Dutch John Canyon.Read More
“I am grateful to the teachers, staff, volunteers, and speakers who help make this conference possible for students each year. Having spent the better part of three decades as a public school teacher in Utah, I recognize the importance of providing students with opportunities for practical application of their textbook studies. This event is a great venue for students to engage with their peers and expand their understanding of government and history outside of the classroom,” said Bishop.
During the conference, students will participate in group discussions, conduct case study sessions, and discuss and debate current policy issues being addressed by Congress. Guest speakers this year include Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox as well as Judge Ted Stewart.
Students were selected by their teachers for attendance at this event. Invitations were sent to all high schools and school districts located in the First Congressional District.
WHAT: Annual Education Conference hosted by Congressman Rob Bishop
WHERE: Utah State Capitol Complex
350 N. State Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84114
DATE: Tuesday, October 21, 2014
TIME: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. MDT
*As always, this event is open to all members of the media*Read More
— Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) appears to have a clear path to chair the House Natural Resources Committee to succeed retiring chairman Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) after the only Republican in Bishop's path told Bloomberg BNA Oct. 2 that he wouldn't run.
“[Bishop] is actively working toward that goal and is hopeful that he will be selected as the next chairman,” Melissa Subbotin, an aide to Bishop, told Bloomberg BNA. “Despite there being significant support behind his bid for chairman, he takes nothing for granted.”
Reps. Don Young (R-Alaska) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) have greater seniority on the committee than Bishop. But Young can't run due to House Republican term limits and Gohmert—Bishop's only obstacle to the chairmanship—told Bloomberg BNA in an e-mail he wouldn't challenge Bishop for the chairmanship.
For Bishop to lose, he would have to be upset by a less-senior committee member.
“Rob and I have been of a common spirit on most every issue,” Gohmert said of Bishop. “I can think of no one who would do a better job of leading that critical committee at this crucial time than [Bishop]. He would be a great chairman and I fully support his chairmanship—as long as my support does not hurt him.”
Subbotin, Bishop's aide, described the Utah congressman as one of the “most dedicated” members of Congress on natural resources issues and said he has worked hard to educate both Democrats and Republicans about these issues. Bishop currently chairs the House Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee within the broader committee.
Todd Willens, chief of staff to Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) who chairs the Congressional Western Caucus, said his boss fully supports Bishop's candidacy and expected the caucus would as well, but it had not yet meet to discuss it.
First elected to the House in 2003, Bishop represents the first district of Utah. He won re-election with 71.5 percent of the vote in 2012.
According to his website, Bishop strongly supports greater development of domestic energy sources to reduce American reliance on foreign energy sources. He supports regulations that “strike a balance for wise management of our public lands and resources.”
An aide to Young confirmed he wouldn't seek the post because House Republican rules prohibit him from doing so. He chaired the committee from 1995 through 2001.
The chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee will first have to clear the Republican Party Steering Committee, an arm of the House Republican leadership. That selection is then voted on by the full Republican conference.
Young is prohibited from continuing as chairman under Rule 14(e) of the House Republican conference, which prohibits members from serving more than three terms as chairman or a ranking member on a committee.
Young has backed Bishop to become chairman of the committee.
Hastings, who has chaired the committee since 2011, announced in February he planned to retire from Congress at the end of his current term. He hasn't said whom he would prefer to succeed him.
With assistance from Dean Scott in Washington
“President Roosevelt never intended for the Antiquities Act to be used as a political weapon to curry favor with special interest groups. If you read the original text of the Antiquities Act it clearly articulates its intended purpose. Over time, it has devolved into a political arrow in the quiver of both Republican and Democrat presidents. If these areas in the Pacific are worthy of inclusion they should have no problem being approved through the open Congressional process, which allows for public input and participation,” said Congressman Rob Bishop. Read More
Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, wants a simpler design. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call FIle Photo)
After 15 years of planning a memorial to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the design might move forward without architect Frank Gehry’s name attached to it.
In a Wednesday meeting blocks from Capitol Hill, the Eisenhower Memorial Commission will be presented with two plans for the four-acre site in Southwest Washington slated to become a memorial to the 34th president. There is no guarantee any official action will be taken, but the Eisenhower family, members of Congress and other stakeholders indicate the most recent compromise offered by the Gehry team is not the way forward.
That version includes the 80-foot columns that a member of the National Capital Planning Commission two weeks ago described as reminiscent of the “latter scenes of ‘Planet of the Apes,’” and a stainless steel tapestry featuring scenes from Ike’s pastoral Kansan roots. An alternate version removes the tapestry and columns, and Gehry has indicated that would not be associated with his name.
House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., proposed the second option to the Eisenhower Memorial Commission as a way to steer the long-stalled project out of neutral, after sensing discord from the federal planners that must give their stamp of approval, as well as the Eisenhower family.
After a lukewarm response from the NCPC, mounting criticism over operational costs and stalled funding from Congress, Issa thinks presenting a second option is the best way to move the project forward. He told CQ Roll Call he wrote the “somewhat unprecedented” letter to the EMC knowing that Gehry believes Eisenhower deserves this memorial and “that he’s not going to stand in the way, regardless of others.”
Issa said the modified design presented Sept. 4 meets the technical requirements well enough that it should be approved, but it seems he just wants to see something built. The commission has “an obligation to approve something and not go back to square one, after the millions of dollars invested,” he said.
The Eisenhower family, one of the most vocal opponents of Gehry’s design, supports Issa’s alternative or the complete redesign of the project that the congressman is hoping to avoid.
“They are also consistent with the wishes of our late father, John S.D. Eisenhower,” wrote the former president’s granddaughters, Anne and Susan Eisenhower, in a Sept. 15 letter to the members of the EMC.
Members of the commission, such as Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., have remained optimistic that the Eisenhower family and other parties could work through their concerns with the project.
About a year ago, President Barack Obama added more discord to the EMC, when he appointed former National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman Bruce Cole to the mix. Cole testified to Congress in March 2012 that Gehry’s design “not only fails, but fails utterly,” and published scathing commentaries on the project.
On Tuesday, Cole told CQ Roll Call that Issa’s proposal is a “promising development.”
Fellow design skeptic Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, chairman on the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation, which published a scathing critique of the EMC, also sounded optimistic about the changes. Bishop has tried to restart the design competition for the memorial but told CQ Roll Call that Issa’s proposal offers “almost everything we want in the first place.”
Bishop planned to meet with the Eisenhower sisters to talk about the design in advance of the EMC meeting. He also hinted that the commission could decide to “wait, let things play out, look at some other ideas, which would be a wise thing to do.”
The current continuing resolution includes a provision extending the EMC’s authority to build a memorial on that site. Bishop cautioned that the House “is not willing to just keep giving them blank checks for funding.”Read More
For Immediate Release
Contact: Eric Reller 202-314-2073 or Eric.Reller@NFIB.org
WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 17, 2014 – The National Federation of Independent Business, the nation’s leading small business association, today named U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop (UT-1) a Guardian of Small Business for his outstanding voting record on behalf of America’s small-business owners in the 113th Congress.
NFIB President and CEO Dan Danner praised Rep. Bishop for “standing up for small business.” In presenting the group’s coveted Guardian of Small Business Award, Danner said, “Small-business owners are very politically active – paying close attention to how their lawmakers vote on key business issues and stand by those who stand for them.”
“The record shows that Rep. Bishop is a true champion of small business, supporting the votes that matter in the 113th Congress,” said Danner. “This award reflects our members’ appreciation for supporting the NFIB pro-growth agenda for small business.”
NFIB’s “How Congress Voted,” which serves as a report card for members of Congress, was also unveiled this week. The report presents key small-business votes and voting percentages for each lawmaker. Those voting favorably on key small-business issues at least 70 percent of the time during the 113th Congress are eligible for the Guardian award.
In all, NFIB will present Guardian awards to 232 Representatives who stood up for small business.Read More
“Failure to understand the distinct and defined roles within our constitutional form of government has significant implications. The federal government’s siphoning of power away from American citizens and the states is a prime example. The 10th Amendment and our Founding Fathers’ concept of federalism clearly define that the majority of the power resides with the people and the states. However, activist courts and power-hungry bureaucrats have sought to undermine this tenet of the Constitution. Over the last fifty years, the federal government has successfully managed to gain influence over nearly every aspect of our daily lives. The solution to many of the problems that our nation currently faces, and the most effective way to ensure personal liberty, is to restore the balance of power as our Founding Fathers intended. Ensuring that the concept of federalism is applied to all decisions made by all three branches of the federal government is perhaps even the salvation of this country.”
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is reviewed and voted on annually by the U.S. House of Representatives to provide funding for the U.S. Department of Defense’s budget. The bill provides funding for vital national defense capabilities, including our troops, essential infrastructure, weapons systems, the operations of the Pentagon, and cost of living pay increases for the military. Congressman Bishop and the HASC Members selected by the Chairman to negotiate the final NDAA with the U.S. Senate will work to ensure that this vital legislation is enacted so that our national defense capabilities may continue.
“The instability and unrest occurring today around the globe emphasize our need to have robust national defense systems in place throughout every branch of our military and our intelligence agencies. The U.S. Department of Defense has suffered draconian cuts over the past five years that have jeopardized the safety of our troops and the readiness of our forces. Ensuring that we address the needs of our troops and the Pentagon in the NDAA is a priority and I look forward to joining with fellow HASC Members to ensure that we get this bill passed in the Senate and signed into law,” said Congressman Bishop.Read More
For more than forty years, the regulation of water quality throughout the United States has been achieved through collaboration between states and the federal government. This partnership was established under the 1972 Clean Water Act (CWA) and limited the extent of the federal government’s oversight authority to “navigable waterways.” The defined responsibility of states and federal agencies resulted from the fact that not all waters need federal oversight and subsequently, that states should have the primary responsibility for the waters within their boundaries.
“The EPA is aggressively working to expand its regulatory and rulemaking authority. Decisions about water quality, use, and management are best made in coordination with officials at the local and state levels, and should not be decided solely by federal bureaucrats. The notion that water quality in our states would somehow be in jeopardy without the overreach of the EPA is bogus and unsubstantiated. States, many of which are leaders on research regarding water quality, are equally capable of ensuring that waters upstream and downstream have proper oversight,” said Rob Bishop.
The Supreme Court has twice reaffirmed the defined roles of states and federal agencies. The current presidential administration, however, has sought to “clarify the scope” of the federal government’s oversight jurisdiction under the CWA, which would ultimately expand its regulatory and rulemaking authority. The Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act would limit federal agencies from having the ability to unilaterally expand their power over waters in the United States.Read More
123 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
A public school teacher turned public servant, Rob Bishop represents Utah’s First Congressional District in the U.S. Congress.
Rob Bishop is a life-long resident of the First District, with the exception of two years he spent in Germany while serving a mission for the LDS Church. He was born and raised in Kaysville, Utah, where he graduated from Davis High School with High Honors. He later graduated magna cum laude from the University of Utah with a degree in Political Science. He has been a resident of Brigham City since 1974.
Rob is married to Jeralynn Hansen, a former Miss Brigham City. They have five children: Shule, Jarom, Zenock, Maren, and Jashon. They have six grandchildren- three boys and three girls.
Before coming to Congress, Rob was active in community theater, which is how he met his wife many years ago. As an avid baseball fan, Rob is a season ticket holder to the Salt Lake Bees and has coached in multiple leagues.
Rob is a devoted public servant. He has served his community in the State Legislature. During his sixteen years representing the Brigham City area, Rob distinguished himself as a leader. His last two years he was unanimously elected to serve as Speaker of the House. He also co-founded the Western States Coalition, a multi-state organization dedicated to protecting states’ rights and promoting Western interests and values.
Rob has served his political party for more than thirty years. Rob has worked at nearly every level of the Republican party, from precinct chair to member of the Republican National Committee, and has spent years working in every corner of this District. He has gone from Vice-Chair of the Davis County Teenage Republicans in 1968 to the advisor of the Utah Teenage Republicans in 1996. In 1997, he was elected Chairman of the Utah Republican Party. He served for two terms.
Rob has dedicated his life to teaching. He started teaching at Box Elder High School (BEHS) in Brigham City in 1974. From 1980 through 1985 he taught German and coached debate at Ben Lomond High School in Ogden, Utah, before returning to BEHS. Before retiring in December of 2002, he taught advanced placement courses in government and U.S. History, while serving as the Chair of the History Department at BEHS.
On January 7, 2003, Rob Bishop was sworn in as the new Congressman from Utah’s First Congressional District, replacing the retiring Representative Jim Hansen. For his first term, he was appointed to serve on his top three choices for House Committees – the Armed Services Committee, the Resources Committee, and the Science Committee – all three of which handle critical issues for Utah’s First District. In January 2005, Rob was sworn into a second term. He was subsequently appointed by the Speaker to serve on the powerful House Rules Committee, the legislative “gatekeeper” for all bills coming to the House floor. During the 111th Congress, Rob was instrumental in founding the10th Amendment Task Force- a coalition of House Members committed to working toward disbursing power in Washington back to the people and states.
Rob is now in his sixth term in the House. During the 113th Congress, Rob will serve on the House Armed Services Committee and the powerful House Rules Committee. Rob will also continue serving on the Committee on Natural Resources where he is Chairman of the Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee.