Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship (CRS) is running print ads in the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News urging Utah Congressman Rob Bishop, who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, to denounce Bundy-style thuggery and lawlessness on our nation’s public lands, which even after numerous arrests, still threatens public safety and the visitor experience.
In the face of an alarming escalation of violence and intimidation by armed anti-public land militants, which culminated earlier this year in the take over of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Chairman Bishop has refused to denounce such extremism. Instead, he too often seems to be egging it on.
Not only did he refuse to cosponsor a resolution condemning the refuge takeover, he regularly hurls insults at land managers, and he recently co-sponsored a bill to strip federal agencies of their law enforcement authority. When asked if he would hold hearings about the Malheur incident and other extremist acts, the Chairman doubled down, saying that instead he wants to continue oversight of “what we feel is the abuse of individuals by the federal land management agencies…”
The “abuse” Bishop rants about is nothing more than fiction. Wyatt Prescott, Executive Vice President of the Idaho Cattle Association, recently pointed out in Boise Weekly that the claims that ranchers and the livestock industry are at odds with land managers like BLM is the product of “a misunderstanding at best.”
Bishop appears intent on inflaming sentiment against public lands and those who manage them to advance his land transfer goals. This would be irresponsible under any circumstance, but in light of recent threats against land managers and various incidents of armed aggression by the Bundys and others, it is reckless and dangerous.
As chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Congressman Bishop has a duty to promote public safety and the rule of law. It is time for him to finally recognize that, and clearly denounce the actions of the Bundys and other militants.
The ads, which show Calf Creek Falls in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, appear in the April 19th editions of the two newspapers.