The Public Lands Initiative (PLI) had three years to develop, as promised, a reasonable advancement of conservation in Southeast Utah.
Instead, it became a tar sands, oil shale and potash development bill. It offers a giveaway of priceless public resources and Native American assets, and rolls back protections already in place for Utah’s wild lands. Along the way, it has antagonized and offended the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition, representing five tribes that have come together to propose protection for the Bears Ears region of Southeast Utah. It continued to do so this week in its congressional hearings.
Meanwhile, the national parks and monuments in our region are bursting at the seams with tourists from around the country and around the world. Is anyone sorry that these areas were given the protections the National Park Service system has to offer? Does anyone think these areas would be what they are now, had their conservation been left up to local county councils or to Utah state government for the last four or five decades? The feds surely have their problems, but they can, better than anyone, play the long game when it comes to protecting our precious natural resources for the future of our children and all people.