Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Herbert fully backs Bishop lands bill after aide suggested setting it aside

Gov. Gary Herbert says he fully backs legislation by two Utah congressmen to preserve parts of the Bears Ears region as a top Herbert aide attempted to clarify comments he made that there might be a better solution. Cody Stewart, Herbert's policy director, spoke at a public meeting in Bluff on Saturday about efforts to protect millions of acres in southeastern Utah and suggested that it might be worth setting aside both the proposal of a national monument, as well as legislation by Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz to preserve some areas and open others to development. There might be another option, he hinted. "We have four or five months," Stewart, a former Bishop aide, told the crowd. "We can do it." The comments suggested that perhaps the governor's office wasn't fully on board with the Public Lands Initiative, a bill three years in the making that had originally sought to bring all sides together to find consensus on setting aside parts of the region for protection and openly other swaths for development. But Herbert this week rejected any notion of starting over — "heavens no," he said — and that the legislation introduced last week is the best path forward...more

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