During Representative Curtis’s town hall meeting he spoke about a couple of bills he introduced in Congress. In describing his effort he noted, “We all want the same thing.” These are the hollow words of a political platitude.
The Emery County Public Lands Management Act reveals the hollowness of his words. The Wilderness Act seeks to remedy the expanding “mechanization” of our public lands. The Emery County bill would actually reduce protections. The Sid’s Mountain and Mexican Mountain wilderness areas would be smaller than the current BLM inventories for those areas and both would be compromised by motorized routes that are currently illegal. In total the Emery County bill fails to protect almost 1.5 million acres of Wilderness Study Areas and lands with wilderness character. The bill riddles the public lands with motorized routes that would be difficult to manage. No forethought has gone into needing to make motorized routes responsive to shifting needs or desirable outcomes in the future.
Representative Curtis defended his Shash Jaa and Indian Creek National Monument legislation. Yet a reduction of 85 percent of the Bears Ears National Monument is indefensible. Representative Curtis finally admitted that the Navajo Nation does not support his legislation. He seems to think his effort is a better way to deal with the Bears Ears National Monument than waiting for a court decision. The tribes worked hard for the monument. He should honor the tribes and make sure nothing happens to the Bears Ears until the courts have made a decision.
He brags that he provides 20 law enforcement officers to protect the monument. His bill may authorize positions but cannot fund the positions. Public Law 111-139 requires budget neutral legislation. Representative Curtis will have to find the money first.
Most people would agree this is not “wanting the same thing.”
–Wayne Y. Hoskisson