Poll Confirms Majority of Utah Voters Want to Protect Bears Ears

Aug 29, 2016

The only debate is over how, not if, the region needs protection


AUGUST 29, 2016

A poll released Friday by the conservative UtahPolicy.com blog confirms a majority of likely Utah voters support protecting the Bears Ears region, either through legislative or executive action.

The poll, which was conducted in late July and early August, found 35 percent of Utahns support Rep. Rob Bishop’s proposed Public Lands Initiative, while an additional 19 percent support a presidential monument designation using the Antiquities Act. The combined percentage of those in support of protecting Bears Ears, 54 percent, outnumber those who do not support protection by a nearly two-to-one margin. It’s an increase of six points over the previous UtahPolicy.com poll, which asked a slightly different question in May.

“Although some tried to frame this poll as anti-Bears Ears, a look at the actual results shows it’s completely consistent with other polls which confirm a clear majority of Utah voters want to protect the Bears Ears landscape,” said Jennifer Rokala, executive director at the Center for Western Priorities. “While a legislative solution should be a viable option, it’s unfortunate that Congressman Bishop chose to run out the clock on the PLI, rather than crafting the grand bargain he’d promised for three years.”

With 33 working days left on the congressional calendar, Rep. Bishop has yet to schedule a hearing or markup on the PLI; this despite controlling the calendar of the House Natural Resources Committee, which he chairs. Bishop has also not announced any Democratic support for his bill, which would require a 60 vote supermajority to clear the Senate before the end of the legislative session.

“The reality is that Congressman Bishop could and should have introduced a viable bill nine months ago. Instead, he wasted precious time on an ideologically-driven discussion draft he knew had no chance of passing,” Rokala said. “The congressman finally introduced a bill this summer, albeit one with a multitude of problems, but he’s left himself with an impossibly steep legislative hill to climb, considering the calendar. President Obama should listen to the voters of Utah—if a dysfunctional Congress can’t do its job, he needs to step up and protect Bears Ears.”


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