SENATE HOUSE

The Coming Battle Over Public Lands Policy

Posted on November 8, 2010 in CNC NEWS | by
Description:WASHINGTON — Utah Republican Congressman Rob Bishop is likely to soon become chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands. And he’s determined to insure that the Interior Department’s conservation policy does not bar corporations from exploiting many public land areas.
Transcript:Good morning, I’m Elizabeth Wynne Johnson; this is Power Breakfast from Capitol News Connection.

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This week Interior Secretary Ken Salazar took steps to strengthen the role of conservation in the management of public lands.  The Utah Republican who may be about to take control of the House panel that oversees the federal agency – is taking a ‘wait and see’ approach.  For now.

BISHOP  There are some areas in which conservation IS the primary goal.  There are other areas where conservation is NOT the primary goal.

Congressman Rob Bishop has not yet studied the Interior Secretary’s directive.  It orders federal land managers to treat conservation as a top priority throughout 27 million acres of public lands in the West.

BISHOP  The public lands whether we like it or not are for all people, and to arbitrarily take certain groups off, simply because one wishes to do so, is not consistent with the rule of law.

Public land uses include grazing, energy development and recreation.  A clarification of the language on conservation that is consistent with established precedent… no problem, says Bishop.

BISHOP  If he’s trying to break precedent and expand that role at the expense of other uses of land which are the purposes for those lands in the first place, I think Congress will give some pushback on it.

He’ll be just the one to do it.  The Gentleman from Utah has had a top spot on the public lands subcommittee since 2007.  But as a Republican, he’s been subject to the will of a Democratic majority.  Now Bishop is poised to become chairman when the new Congress convenes and Republicans rule the House.

One way or another, Salazar will face pushback… against any attempt by the White House to do an end-run around Congress on lands policy.

BISHOP  He still has to have a budget approved by Congress in some way shape or form.

That’s Power Breakfast from Capitol News Connection.

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