Wasatch Environmental Update for September 16, 2018
By John Worlock
Red Letter Day for the House Committee on Natural Resources Sept 13, 2018
With all the lousy environmental news emanating from Washington these days, we were surprised and delighted to learn of two developments in Rob Bishop’s House Committee on Natural Resources. Both occurred on September 13, just a few days ago, and each of them is a significant victory. Mark that day on your calendar as a red-letter day, September 13.
The two bills sweeping through Bishop/s Committee and passing on to the House of Representatives for action are both fully bipartisan and promise federal funds for support of our public lands nationwide.
One: HR 6510 is sponsored by Rob Bishop himself and is entitled “The Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act.” It has already 158 cosponsors, including most importantly, Democratic Representative Raul Grijalva, the Ranking Member of the Natural Resources Committee, or Bishop’s across-the-aisle “Jeremy Cricket.”
HR6510 offers to devote significant funds from federal assessments on energy extraction to the immense backlog of infrastructure upkeep for the National Park Service, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Indian Education. This bill is already an accomplishment worth the celebration, and we only hope it doesn’t get lost in the stampede for reelection two months from now.
Two: Another bill is HR 502, originally introduced a year and a half ago by Representative Grijalva, reauthorizing the act that offered revenue from offshore drilling to support the Land and Water Conservation Fund. This money has for many years been important in funding developments of parks and trails nationwide, but specifically throughout Utah’s counties and municipalities. The Bonneville Shoreline Trail is an example of its important support. HR 502 has been somewhat amended to fit Rob Bishop’s ideas about creating no morefederal land in the west, but is still sponsored by Representative Grijalva and, if passed, will be a very important accomplishment.
So here is what we suggest: if you have any Representatives or Senators in your Rolodex, please give them each a call supporting these bills: HR 502 and HR 6510. It will be good to get some of that federal money spread around supporting our recreational parkland and environmental infrastructure.