Eight lawmakers whose bills attack public lands

Who are the Westerners behind bills meant to weaken federal protections of land?

 

When President Donald Trump signed an order loosening fossil fuel regulations in March, he proclaimed the dawn of “a new era in American energy production and job creation.” Both his administration and the 115th Congress strongly espouse these goals: Trump has filled his Cabinet with industry darlings like Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Perry and Pruitt have strong ties to the energy industry in their home states, while Zinke met with more oil and gas lobbyists than representatives of any other interest group during his first months in office. Meanwhile, many Republicans in Congress have received hefty campaign contributions from powerful players in extractive industries, such as Koch Industries and Chevron, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan nonprofit that analyzes money behind elections and policy. These lawmakers have also introduced bills to weaken public-land protections and thereby benefit corporate oil and gas interests by opening up more land to potential development.

In response to backlash from constituents, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, withdrew HR 621, his bill to sell 3.3 million acres of public land. Though Chaffetz backed down — and will soon resign — several other anti-public-lands bills remain active in Congress. Many propose transferring federal lands to state control — a goal long part of the GOP platform — or weakening federal protections on national monuments and other public lands by changing the way they are designated. Below are the eight Western lawmakers most actively driving legislation, ranked by the number of bills they sponsor. This includes all such bills by these lawmakers since 2011, including those introduced by the 115th Congress.

Note: In May, Rep. Mark Amodei withdrew his support for H.R. 1484, known as the Honor the Nevada Enabling Act. “Transferring millions of acres of public lands … is not something I think the majority of people think is a good idea,” Amodei told the Reno Gazette-Journal editorial board at the time.

High Country News Classifieds
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Seeking passionate full-time Executive to lead the oldest non-profit organization in Idaho. Must have knowledge of environmental issues, excellent organizational, verbal presentation and written skills,...
  • CONSERVATION DIRECTOR
    Carbondale based public lands advocate, Wilderness Workshop, seeks a Conservation Director to help direct and shape the future of public land conservation on the West...
  • DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR WATER PLANNING WITH WRA'S HEALTHY RIVERS PROGRAM
    Founded in 1989, Western Resource Advocates (WRA) is dedicated to protecting the Wests land, air, and water to ensure that vibrant communities exist in balance...
  • TROUT UNLIMITED BIGHORN RIVER BASIN PROJECT MANAGER
    The Bighorn River Basin Project Manager identifies and implements projects to improve streamflows, restore stream and riparian habitat, improve fish passage and rehabilitate or replace...
  • NON-PROFIT OPERATIONS MANAGER
    One of the most renowned community-based collaboratives in the country seeks full-time Operations Manager to oversee administrative, financial, fund development, and board development duties. BS/BA...
  • RUSTIC HORSE PROPERTY
    in NM. 23 acres, off the grid, rustic cabin, organic gardens, fruit trees, fenced, call 505-204-8432 evenings.
  • DIRECTOR OF VISITOR SERVICES & BOOKSTORE OPERATIONS
    The San Juan Mountains Association in Durango, CO is seeking a Director of Visitor Services & Bookstore Operations to lead our visitor information program &...
  • SOLAR POWERED HOME NEAR CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK
    1800 sf home on 4.12 acres surrounded by Natl Forest and recreational opportunities in a beautiful area (Happy Valley) between Torrey and Boulder. [email protected], www.bouldermoutainreality/properties/grover/off-the-grid-in-happy-valley,...
  • 40 ACRE ORGANIC FARM
    potential fruit/hay with house, Hotchkiss, CO, Scott Ellis, 970-420-0472, [email protected]
  • STAFF ATTORNEY
    STAFF ATTORNEY POSITION OPENING www.westernlaw.org/about-us/clinic-interns-careers The Western Environmental Law Center (WELC) is a nonprofit public interest environmental law firm with a 25-year legacy of success...
  • LAND CONSERVATION DIRECTOR
    Manage, develop and implement all stewardship and land management plans and activities on both private and public lands. Guide and direct comprehensive planning efforts, provide...
  • INTERNET-BASED BUSINESS FOR SALE
    Dream of owning your own business, being your own boss, working from home ... this is the one. 928-380-6570, www.testshop.com. More info at https://bit.ly/2Kgi340.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    If you are deeply committed to public service and would like to become part of our high performing, passionate and diverse team, NCAT is looking...
  • TRIPLEX .8 ACRE KANAB, UT
    Create a base in the center of Southern Utah's Grand Circle of National Parks. Multiple residential property with three established rental units and zoning latitude...
  • FORGE & FAB SHOP
    with home on one beautiful acre in Pocatello, ID. Blackrock Forge - retiring after 43 years! Fully equipped 5,500 sf shop including office, gallery and...
  • SMALL FARM AT THE BASE OF MOUNT SHASTA
    Certified organic fruit/berry/veggie/flower farm. Home, barns, garage, separate apt, more. Just under 2 ac, edge of town. Famously pure air and water. Skiing, mountaineering, bike,...
  • FOREST STEWARDSHIP PROJECT DIRECTOR
    Become a force for nature and a healthy planet by joining the Arizona Chapter as Forest Stewardship Project Director. You will play a key role...
  • LIGHTWEIGHT FLY ROD CASES
    4 standard or custom lengths. Rugged protection for backpacking. Affordable pricing.
  • DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
    will develop and execute Wild Utah Projects fundraising plan. Call, email or check full description of job online for more details:
  • HAND CRAFTED LOG HOME IN TETON VALLEY
    on ten acres. Full view of the Grand Teton. 35 miles to Yellowstone and 20 minutes to Grand Targhee Ski Area.