On Tuesday morning, the Emery County Public Lands Council reported on Congressman Rob Bishop’s Public Lands Initiative. As documented on Rob Bishop’s website, “The Public Lands Initiative is a locally-driven effort to bring resolution to some of the most challenging land disputes in the state of Utah. The initiative is rooted in the belief that conservation and economic development can coexist and make Utah a better place to live, work and visit.”
Emery County has been working on a public lands bill for approximately six years. The Emery County Public Lands Council has hosted many public hearings and field trips for stakeholders to add their input as well as voice their opinions and concerns over land use designation. In July 2012, the Public Lands Council made a formal proposal for its land use bill to Emery County Commissioners. Shortly after presenting their proposal to commissioners, Congressman Bishop proposed an idea that they do a regional deal with more counties involved.
In February 2013, Congressman Bishop sent a letter to public land counties to officially engage them to begin the process of developing federal legislation. He outlined his vision for bringing greater regulatory certainty, local management, economic development, recreational opportunities and land conservation to Utah and invited any interested county to consider the benefits federal legislation might bring to their communities.
The Utah Public Lands Initiative is not yet ready for draft legislation. However, Congressman Bishop’s office will be working on the language of the bill over the next several weeks and are hoping to have a draft in late April or early May, which will be publicly available.
To learn more about the Utah Public Lands Initiative, visit the Emery County Public Lands Facebook page or go to www.etv10news.com to watch as Emery County Public Lands Chairman Mistie Christiansen and administrator Ray Petersen sat down with Randy Johnson, host of “Heart of Utah,” to explain what Emery County has submitted and what it means to residents.