A new bill H.R.622, Local Enforcement of Local Hands Act, out of Utah threatens protected land in the US. The new law would divest the Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service of their law enforcement power. Jurisdiction would be reallocated to the individual states. This bill steps from the argument that ranchers want to continue grazing cattle on federal lands.
If this bill passes, ranching and other industry will impact other protected land in the US, outside of Utah.
Republican representative Jason Chaffetz introduced H.R. 622, after he withdrew another bill 621. This other bill had threatened 3.3 million acres of national wild land. Chaffetz posted on instagram:
“I am withdrawing H.R. 621. I’m a proud gun owner, hunter and love our public lands. The bill would have disposed of small parcels of lands Pres. Clinton identified as serving no public purpose but groups I support and care about fear it sends the wrong message.” #keepitpublic
Although H.R. 621 is not longer a threat, Chaffetz new legislation H.R. 622 may have a more significant impact.
More New Laws Target Protected Land in the US
Also in Utah, legislators are trying to dismantle the 1906 Antiquities Act. This act has created 129 national monuments throughout the US. Government officials in Utah want to open Ute tribal lands for oil drilling within the Bears Ears National Monument boundaries. The Antiquities Act currently forbids this. The video footage below show the amazing Bears Ears National Monument.
In opposition of the proposed legislation, the sportsman and hunting community has rallied to express their anger. Land Tawney is the president and CEO of Back Country Hunters and Anglers. He stated:
“Once that bill (621) was introduced, the hornet’s nest was kicked. What happened last week was just a small fraction of the fire the sportsman community has been feeling. We’re fired up, and this is just the beginning.” (source)
Tawney has promised that his organization will continue to fight H.R. 622 and any other legislation that jeopardizes US national wild lands.
“I’d say this fight is far from over. We will not rest until this is taken out of the platform of the Republican party,” Tawney said. “Hunters and sportsmen are on notice, and Republicans should pay attention: we’re going to be there every single step of the way.” (source)
Utah is not the only state that is fighting to preserve national lands. Look into your own states legislation to see what bills are on the table for your wild places.
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