Massive outdoor industry trade show gets closer to leaving state in protest

It’s no secret that Utah’s elected officials have led a sustained attack against national public lands. Now it seems that leading outdoor recreation companies, which depend on public lands for their business, have had enough. Governor Gary Herbert is seeking to quell a growing movement to move the massive Outdoor Retailer trade show out of Utah, but it’s not that easy for a tiger to change its stripes. Just this week Utah’s legislature advanced a proposal to give hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to nonprofits specifically to sue the federal government over public lands.

On Monday, an appropriations subcommittee of Utah’s state legislature voted to give $250,000 to two nonprofits, the Foundation for Integrated Resource Management (FIRM) and Rural Utah Alliance. FIRM, founded in 2016, has actively opposed Bears Ears National Monument and seeks to “file legal actions and communicate with the public” on anti-public lands issues. Rural Utah Alliance, initially registered by a lawyer for Phil Lyman, the San Juan County Commissioner convicted of leading an illegal ATV ride into archaeologically-sensitive Recapture Canyon, takes taxpayer money from state and county coffers and claims to offer legal advice to counties regarding national public lands. (more…)

Written by on Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

It’s been a rough week for politicians in Utah.

Congressman Jason Chaffetz faced a hostile crowd at a town hall meeting in his district Thursday night. An overflow crowd demanded answers on everything from public lands and the new Bears Ears National Monument to whether, as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, he intends to perform any oversight of the Trump White House.

The evening was overshadowed with a mic drop moment from a ten-year-old girl who asked Chaffetz simply, “Do you believe in science? Because I do.” (more…)

Written by on Friday, February 10th, 2017

An annotated copy of the Utah Delegation’s response to the protection of Bears Ears National Monument

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Written by on Friday, February 10th, 2017

As Congress continues its war on America’s clean air, water and public lands, the Senate is expected to vote any day on eliminating standards by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that limit natural gas waste from drilling on public lands. The House recently voted to nix these common sense standards that ensure natural gas is captured and sold, instead of flared and vented, saving taxpayers millions of dollars. While BLM’s methane waste rule is supported by a broad range of businesses, public health and conservation organizations, its repeal is on the wish list of the Koch-backed Freedom Partners.

A review of correspondence with Congressional staff shows the oil and gas industry and big business associations are ramping up lobbying efforts to axe these safeguards. (more…)

Written by on Thursday, February 9th, 2017

An interview with pollsters Lori Weigel and Dave Metz about the 2017 Conservation in the West Poll from the Colorado College State of the Rockies Project.

Host/Producer: Aaron Weiss
Music: Purple Planet

Written by on Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

Ryan Zinke supports eliminating rules that reduce methane waste

The U.S. Congress is engaged in an unprecedented attack on common sense rules that ensure oil, gas, and coal development proceeds safely and responsibly. But don’t expect the soon-to-be Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to act as a check on Congress’ belligerence. On the contrary, Secretary-designee Zinke’s political career has been bankrolled by the very companies advocating for fewer safeguards on their development activities.

Take the decision by the House of Representatives to eliminate rules designed to limit natural gas waste from drilling on public lands. Set by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), these standards seek to limit venting and flaring of natural gas, while ensuring that gas owned by American taxpayers doesn’t just go up in smoke. (more…)

Written by on Monday, February 6th, 2017

New poll paints a picture of the West where public lands are sacred and a balanced approach to energy development is key

Colorado College’s seventh annual Conservation in the West poll, released this week, offers a policy roadmap to inform the Trump administration’s approach to managing the West’s national public lands. It makes clear the values and priorities of Westerners and offers valuable guidance for policymakers willing to listen.

It’s simple really; as Montana Governor Steve Bullock remarked, “The national political winds change direction every few years, but a passion for the outdoors and strong support for American public lands remain constant in the Mountain West.”

The bipartisan poll surveyed 400 voters in each of seven Western states (Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming), for a total of 2,800 people. 37 percent of respondents voted for Donald Trump, 34 percent for Hillary Clinton, and 12 percent supported a third party.

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Written by on Monday, February 6th, 2017

Politicians and the Trump administration are turning their tough talk into action

When it comes to dismantling safeguards for our air, water and public lands, it seems Congress and the Trump administration are intent on turning tough talk into action. Thursday, Congress moved to eliminate a rule to keep coal mining pollution out of streams and a requirement for oil companies to disclose payment to foreign governments. These are not just attacks on our public health, but a tip of the hat to corporate sponsors and campaign donors.

Congressional leaders are using an obscure law called the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Passed in 1996, the CRA allows Congress to nullify recently-passed regulations with a simple majority vote. Once these rules are rolled back they cannot return, as a provision of the CRA prohibits an agency from passing “substantially similar” regulations in the future. (more…)

Written by on Friday, February 3rd, 2017

America’s oil and gas sector thrived under President Obama’s leadership.

Far from the “war on oil” claims made by President Trump, his allies in Congress, and industry lobbyists, the data provided below prove that U.S. oil and gas production skyrocketed over the last eight years, that oil and gas companies are holding millions of acres of public lands leases, most of which are not being used, and that companies continue to receive a sweetheart deal for producing oil and gas on public lands.

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Written by on Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

We learned more about Congressman Ryan Zinke’s plans to run the Interior Department during his confirmation hearing Tuesday. The Montanan, who’s vying to run the department that oversees the management of national parks, wildlife refuges, and other public lands, professed his admiration for Theodore Roosevelt, whose legacy of conserving our national public lands lives on today.

While the desire to follow in Roosevelt’s footsteps is admirable, Zinke’s responses raised serious questions about whether he will conserve our public lands and bolster the outdoor economy or cater to the oil, gas, and coal companies that have donated to his political campaigns.

Throughout his career in Congress, Zinke has talked a good game about supporting our public lands and ensuring access for hunting, fishing, camping and hiking. He even resigned as a delegate to the Republican National Convention over an anti-public lands platform and has supported re-authorizing the popular Land and Water Conservation Fund.

However, actions speak louder than words.

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Written by on Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Today's Latest

Clumsy at best, irresponsible at worst

The federal hiring freeze brings chaos at Montana’s national parks and forests, public lands supporters to rally today at noon in Helena, Montana, and more.

January 30th, 2017

A monumental legacy

New CWP story map walks through the years of conservation under Obama, listen to the former Deputy Secretary of the Interior Mike Connor talk about the challenges facing public lands, and more.

January 30th, 2017

What war on oil and gas?

New CWP report shows how the oil and gas sector thrived under President Obama, hiring freeze leaves Forest Service uncertain, and more.

January 30th, 2017

Protected public lands are part of our Western heritage and deserve bipartisan support. @WstrnPriorities