U.S. Congress update
With a Republican president and Republicans in control of both the U.S. House and Senate, anti-environmental bills are popping up like whack-a-moles. Here are some that affect Utah:
- Utah’s Congressional delegation claims that they were promoting “local control” by voting for a resolution against the BLM Planning 2.0 Rule. However, the rule they opposed actually improved the public process for land management. BLM Rule 2.0 implemented landscape-level management, made planning more responsive to environmental, ecological, social and economic conditions, and emphasized decisions based on scientific data.
- Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT-3) introduced a bill for “disposal of excess federal lands,” which met with immediate, strong opposition from hunters and anglers. In the end Chaffetz withdrew the bill, posting a staged social media photo of himself dressed in camouflage and holding a hunting dog. Activism works!
- Both of Utah’s senators voted to confirm Scott Pruitt as head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pruitt has spent his legal career opposing protections for clean air and clean water. Utah law says that air quality laws can’t be more stringent than federal regulations, so if federal laws are weakened, Utah’s air quality problems will only get worse.