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
  • COMMUNICATIONS AND OUTREACH ASSOCIATE
    Communications and Outreach Associate Position Opening: www.westernlaw.org/communications-outreach-associate ************************************************* Location: Western U.S., ideally in one of WELC's existing office locations (Santa Fe or Taos, NM, Helena,...
  • FREELANCE GRAPHIC DESIGNER & PROJECT COORDINATOR (REMOTE)
    High Country News (HCN) is seeking a contract Graphic Designer & Project Coordinator to design promotional, marketing and fund-raising assets and campaigns, and project-manage them...
  • FILM AND DIGITAL MEDIA: ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF INDIGENOUS MEDIA, CULTURAL SOVEREIGNTY AND DECOLONIZATION (INITIAL REVIEW 12.1.21)
    Film and Digital Media: Assistant Professor of Indigenous Media, Cultural Sovereignty and Decolonization (Initial Review 12.1.21) Position overview Position title: Assistant Professor - tenure-track Salary...
  • REAL ESTATE SPECIALIST
    To learn more about this position and to apply please go to the following URL.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS
    "More Data, Less Digging" Find groundwater and reduce excavation costs!
  • RARE CHIRICAHUA RIPARIAN LAND FOR SALE
    40 acres: 110 miles from Tucson: native trees, grasses: birder's heaven::dark sky/ borders state lease & National forest/5100 ft/13-16 per annum rain
  • CENTRAL PARK CULTURAL RESOURCE SPECIALIST
    Agency: Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Salary Range: $5,203 - $7,996 Position Title: Central Park Cultural Resource Specialist Do you have a background in Archaeology...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY
    Come live and work in one of the most beautiful places in the world! As our Staff Attorney you will play a key role in...
  • ARIZONA GRAZING CLEARINGHOUSE
    Dedicated to preventing the ecological degradation caused by livestock grazing on Arizona's public lands, and exposing the government subsidies that support it.
  • OPERATIONS MANAGER
    Position Summary: Friends of the Inyo (friendsoftheinyo.org) is seeking a new Operations Manager. The Operations Manager position is a full-time permanent position that reports directly...
  • WATER RIGHTS BUREAU CHIEF
    Water Rights Bureau Chief, State of Montana, DNRC, Water Resources Division, Helena, MT Working to support and implement the Department's mission to help ensure that...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Amargosa Conservancy (AC), a conservation nonprofit dedicated to standing up for water and biodiversity in the Death Valley region, seeks an executive director to...
  • DEVELOPMENT & OUTREACH ASSOCIATE
    Southeast Alaska Conservation Council is hiring! Who We Are: The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) is a small grassroots nonprofit based out of Juneau, Alaska,...
  • DESERT LANDS ORGANIZER
    Position Summary: Friends of the Inyo seeks a Desert Lands Organizer to assist with existing campaigns that will defend lands in the California desert, with...
  • IDAHO CONSERVATION LEAGUE
    Want to help preserve Idaho's land, water, and air for future generations? Idaho Conservation League currently has 3 open positions. We are looking for a...
  • LUNATEC ODOR-FREE DISHCLOTHS
    are a must try. They stay odor-free, dry fast, are durable and don't require machine washing. Try today.
  • EVENTS AND ANNUAL FUND COORDINATOR
    The Events and Annual Fund Coordinator is responsible for managing and coordinating the Henry's Fork Foundation's fundraising events for growing the membership base, renewing and...
  • EDUCATION DIRECTOR
    Position Description: The Education Director is the primary leader of Colorado Canyons Association's (CCA) education programs for students and adults on the land and rivers...
  • 10 ACRES OF NEW MEXICO HIGH DESERT
    10 Acres of undeveloped high desert land in central NM, about 45 minutes from downtown Albuquerque. Mixed cedar and piñon pine cover. Some dirt roadways...
  • WATERSHED RESTORATION DIRECTOR
    $58k-$70k + benefits to oversee watershed restoration projects that fulfill our strategic goals across urban and rural areas within the bi-national Santa Cruz and San...