President Trump Signs Emery County Public Lands Bill into Law

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Press Release from the Office of Congressman Curtis

Washington, DC— Congressman John Curtis (R-UT) released the following statement after President Donald Trump signed the Natural Resources Management Act (S. 47), a major public lands package, which included two bills sponsored by Rep. Curtis, into law today. The legislation has received widespread, bipartisan support.

“This bill represents decades of outreach, where local leaders worked hard to create broad consensus among a diverse range of priorities. The Emery County Commissioners, Emery County Public Lands Council and other leaders deserve to be applauded for their contributions that will bring long-term certainty to the area, striking a balance between access and protection,” said Curtis. “Additionally, the legislation generates millions of dollars through school trust land exchanges to help Utah’s school children. I’m proud to have been a part of this collaborative effort, along with Senator Hatch and Senator Romney, that is truly a local solution.”

The Natural Resources Management Act is a comprehensive, bipartisan public lands package that comprises over 100 individual bills. Two of these bills are sponsored by Representative John Curtis, the Emery County Public Land Management Act and the Endangered Fish Recovery Programs Extension Act. S. 47 includes eight pieces of legislation that are sponsored by members of the Utah congressional delegation, in addition to many other bills that will benefit all Utahns who use public lands.

Emery County Public Land Management Act
In May of 2018, Curtis introduced the historic Emery County Public Land Management Act, with former Senator Orrin Hatch, designating roughly one million acres in Utah’s Emery County for various uses, including recreation, conservation, development, grazing and more. For over two decades, Emery County has fine-tuned this broadly supported public lands legislation, which resolves longstanding questions about federal land management in the region and brings desired certainty to a broad range of stakeholders.

This bill is a model for how Utahns can work together to solve public land management questions in some of the most unique landscapes of the country. After years of input and stakeholder engagement, this bill resolves a number of issues affecting the region through a school land trust exchange, conveying certain lands to Emery County, expanding Goblin Valley State Park, conservation designations and the creation of the new San Rafael Swell Recreation Area.

The legislation has been backed by all three Emery County Commissioners, Utah Governor Gary Hebert, Senator Mitt Romney, Utah Farm Bureau Federation, Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Conservation Alliance, Outdoor Industry Association, Outdoor Alliance, Access Fund, International Mountain Bicycling Association, American Whitewater and American Alpine Club.

Major Provisions:
– Establishes the San Rafael Swell Recreation Area to highlight and enhance the diverse range of recreational activities in the area
– Establishes the Jurassic National Monument
– Exchanges nearly 100,000 acres of school trust land that will now generate millions of dollars to support Utah’s school kids;
– Expands Goblin Valley State Park to increase the experience of visitors through targeted improvements
– Various targeted conservation designates for certain land and waters throughout the County

Designations by the Numbers:
– Current Wilderness Study Areas: 436,643 acres;
– San Rafael Swell Recreation Area (before SITLA exchange): 216,995 acres;
– Wilderness designated (before SITLA exchange): 661,155 acres;
– Jurassic National Monument (contains the densest concentration of Jurassic-era dinosaur bones in the world): 850 acres;
– Goblin Valley State Park Expansion: 6,261 acres;
– Emery County Conveyances (various conveyances include the Huntington Airport expansion, Sheriff’s station and Buckhorn Information Center): 2,852 acres;
– Wild and Scenic River Designations: 63 Miles.

Endangered Fish Recovery Programs Extension Act
This bipartisan legislation extends the authorization to use upper Colorado River Storage Project Revenues for annual base funding of fish recovery programs.

The recovery programs are for four different endangered species of fish located in the Upper Colorado and San Juan Rivers: the Colorado pikeminnow, the humpback chub, the razorback sucker and the bonytail.
These programs were reauthorized in 2012 and set to expire in 2019. This extension would authorize the programs through 2023.

The bill also requires the Interior Secretary to submit a report, in consultation with the participants in the Recovery Implementation Programs, to Congress describing the accomplishments and costs of the programs

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